(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Perfect weather greeted the dignitaries and cyclists who came to participate in the inauguration ceremony of the new bicycle trail in Jerusalem Metropolitan Park on Friday, October 28. The park, which will eventually cover an area of 15,000 dunams, will create a ring of open spaces around Jerusalem, creating 'green lungs' within the city's urban fabric.
At the ceremony, KKL-JNF's Gidi Bashan spoke about the bike trail and described plans for the future. "Today, we will be dedicating the first five kilometers of a bike path that will eventually be 42 kilometers long and encircle all of Jerusalem. Today, the bike trail is ten kilometers long; five kilometers there and five kilometers back, almost all on an asphalt path. For more experienced bike riders, there will also be a steep, one and a half kilometer climb to KKL-JNF's nearby 9/11 memorial. Work is now proceeding on the first 23 kilometers of the trail, following the north-west-south axis. "KKL-JNF is a leading partner of a group of five entities, including the Prime Minister's Office, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, all of whom are responsible for Jerusalem Metropolitan Park. KKL-JNF focuses on planning, park visitor management and project implementation. In addition, we are presently working on the restoration of two local streambeds, Nahal Sorek and Nahal Refa'im, and we are also responsible for planting trees throughout the park. Needless to say, all of the park's bicycle trails, including the trail we are inaugurating today, were planned and executed by KKL-JNF.
"The park will greatly improve the quality of life of everyone who lives in the vicinity, and will become a site that attracts people from all over the country. Beautifying Jerusalem is a major KKL-JNF priority, and we look forward to partnering with our friends in various countries throughout the world in furthering Jerusalem Metropolitan Park development. As is the case everywhere in Israel, our overseas supporters enable and facilitate our work by adopting specific projects."