Hikers on the Israel National Trail521.
(photo credit: Abra Cohen )
A dangerous cliff-side portion of the Israel Trail that overlooks Hof Hasharon
has been replaced with an alternate route due the safety hazards posed by
ongoing erosion, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority announced on
The area in question is the coastal escarpment strip found
between Herzliya and Netanya, composed of kurkar – aeolianite rock formed by the
lithification of sediment. Rather than trekking the approximately 25 beachside
kilometers from the northern tip of Herzliya to Hof Hayarok in Netanya, Israel
Trail hikers will from now on follow a more inland route.
this segment of the the trail was a collaboration between officials from INPA
and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the latter of which
administers the trail itself.
“This natural erosion is now in a state
which is hazardous to travelers – people who walk on the base and head of the
cliff,” Uri Naveh, deputy director of INPA’s central district, told The
Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
Unlike limestone, which is the residue of
aquatic environments, kurkar is made of fossilized coastal sand dunes, a young
rock from the Ice Age era, Naveh explained.
“It’s quite weak,” he
The kurkar cliffs along the Mediterranean coast are undergoing a
combination of natural and man-made erosion. Artificial structures like marinas
and ports create an obstacle to sand that would otherwise move north from the
Nile Delta – sand that is able to protect the base of the cliffs against the
power of ocean waves, according to Naveh.
In restructuring this portion
of the Israel Trail, Naveh said that officials aimed to keep the trail “as
interesting as possible,” if not more interesting than the repetitive beachside
stretch that existed in the past.
Now, travelers will walk a bit eastward
and inland from Arsuf Kedem to Shefayim, then walking along Poleg Stream and
continuing through the Poleg Nature Reserve alongside but a bit set back from
the coast. Near the Wingate Institute they will proceed eastward once again,
returning only to the coastline near Hof Hayarok in Netanya.
so is not technically illegal, Naveh warned that people walking at either base
or top of the cliffs in Hof Hasharon are putting themselves in severe
“It’s not safe – it’s like playing some kind of Russian Roulette
because the cliffs can collapse at any sudden point, which is not predictable,”
A daytime trip to the Hof Hasharon cliff-side beaches is
certainly not recommended, but staying there in a tent for the night “is playing
with fire,” Naveh warned.
About 10 years ago, a young woman spending time
at a beach under one of these cliffs was crippled in a landslide, he
“The rate of the landslides that is happening is alarmingly
frequent,” Naveh said.
In addition to marking the new trail, officials
will issue the next version of the Israel Trail map with the changes, he
While using the old route might technically be legal, Naveh
stressed how critical it is that all hikers travel on the new path.
workers have finished marking the new trail, a spokesman for the organization