Hiking in Boots' December Festival in Ofer Forest.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Winter may not seem like the best time for hiking through forests, but KKL-JNF, the Carmel Coast Regional Council, and dozens of happy hikers think otherwise.
At the December 2015 Hiking in Boots Festival, KKL-JNF National Civil Service volunteers led groups on winter hikes in the Carmel Forest and helped everyone get acquainted with the forest, the plants that grow in it and with the human connection to one of Israel’s most beautiful nature sites.
As part of the December Hiking in Boots Festival, excited groups of parents and children were greeted on Thursday, December 10, by KKL-JNF National Service volunteers at the Shlucha recreation site in Ofer Forest, which is part of the Carmel forest range. They set out for a challenging hike through the woodlands, with frequent stops where KKL-JNF guides spoke about the forest’s flora and fauna, and also about what causes forest fires and how they can be prevented.
The group’s first stop was at the KKL-JNF forest observation tower, which was constructed by KKL JNF in the 1960s with the support of its friends in Australia, as were many of the sites in Ofer Forest. The tower serves as a means for locating fires in the vast expanses of forest and woodland in this region. From the tower one can see the Carmel landscapes, the coastal communities, agricultural expanses, banana plantations, fish ponds, the blue Mediterranean Sea on the horizon, and its shoreline.
The youngest hiker, just under two years old, was also the youngest member of the Edri family from Givat Shmuel, who were on their first ever KKL-JNF outing with their four children. Dvir, the father, said that one of the reasons they signed up was the catchy name “Hiking in Boots”. “I was also impressed that the plan was to hike whether it rained or not, I guess that’s what the boots are about. The organization of this outing has been fantastic. I’m also very pleased that the security guard also knows first aid, it makes me feel very safe to be here even with small children.”
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