National parks packed on Pessah’s first day

Topping list of travel destinations are Caesarea and Banyas national parks as roughly 200,000 people hit the wild.

By RON FRIEDMAN
March 31, 2010 02:42
1 minute read.
The Tal Forest National Park.

tal forest tourism 311. (photo credit: Dudu Ferro)

Taking advantage of the holiday and the favorable weather, roughly 200,000 people visited Israel’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the country on Tuesday, with Israel Nature and Parks Authority officials expecting two million visitors during the Pessah.

Topping the list of travel destinations were the Caesarea National Park and the Banyas National Park, with over 4,000 visitors, followed by Masada, which hosted 3,300 and the Mekorot Hayarkon National Park, near Petah Tikva, which saw 2,800 visitors.

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Other popular places were the Carmel range, the Judean Mountains and the Upper Galilee.

Israel has more than 400 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, which make up 25 percent of its total area.

“We have one goal,” said INPA outreach director Uzi Barzilai. “To get the Israeli family out of the air-conditioned shopping mall and into the state’s nature reserves and heritage sites.

When the public goes on vacation, the INPA’s employees work harder than usual to make sure that the thousands of people have a safe, fun and educational time in the parks.

“It is no easy task to provide services to thousands of tourists a day, while safeguarding their personal safety and the values of conservation on one hand and enabling an educational experience for the whole family, one that will bring people of all ages closer to nature, on the other,” said INPA director Eli Amitai.

“I am certain that the variety of activities we’ve prepared for the Israeli public will prove once again that when the Israeli family is offered added value, they prefer a visit to the Banyas Canyon over a shopping mall in some industrial zone and taking part in tours and festivals over watching television.”

Among the family activities offered around the country are: an archeology-based quest in Apollonia Fortress, near Herzliya, a sand castle competition in the Alexander River National Park, a treasure hunt in Ashkelon National Park, a rustic circus in Beit She’an and a sea turtle rescue operation at Dor Beach, near Zichron Yaakov.

The good weather is expected to continue, with temperatures rising throughout the week.


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