The Nature and National Parks Protection Authority announced two new nature reserves in Israel at their annual meeting on Tuesday.
The two new parks are Shilo Stream, in the center of the country near Elad, and an unnamed park in the Golan Heights.
“The declaration of nature reserves is the best way to preserve the unique natural values of our country for the sake of the present and future generations,” said Shaul Goldstein, Director General of the Nature and Parks Authority.
“Unfortunately, the process of declaring a nature reserve in Israel is too long and in the end both nature and man pay the price,” he added.
“I welcome the promotion of the declaration from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon,” said Goldstein, thanking the “Chairman of the National Council and Housing Cabinet Zeev Bielski and Chairman of the Planning Authority Dalit Zilber, who have the authority to declare it official.”
The Shilo Stream Nature Reserve, located near the city of Rosh Ha’ayin, is an important part of the National Ecological Corridor – a continuous strip of open spaces that connects natural areas in order to ensure the functioning of the ecological system and reduce the damage to biodiversity.
“The importance of the open-area continuum is to maintain the healthy functioning of the ecosystem by enabling species interchange, the guarantee of flora and fauna population and the exchange of genetic information among populations,” the Nature and Parks Authority published in a statement.
The Shilo Stream Nature Reserve encompasses a habitat of Mediterranean herbaceous plants in danger of extinction, and is one of the largest streams in the Yarkon. Shilo provides a habitat for endangered species, including deer, hyenas, a variety of reptiles and birds of prey as well as for the nesting densities of several species of songbirds.
The area is also home to ancient ruins from the Byzantine period and winter pools that serve as habitats for endangered crustaceans and amphibians.
Tel Hatzevah Nature Reserve in the Golan Heights (Credit: Nature and Parks Authority)
The second area, located near Moshav Aloni Habashan at the Syrian border in the Golan Heights, was declared a reserve recently after it held the status of a certified reserve since 2006.
The reserve includes a number of volcanic hills, unique Palestine oaks, Aleppo oaks and Mount Tabor oaks; it is one of the only places where the three species occur together in nature. It is also home to seasonal flowerings of Feinbrun’s Autumn crocus and Large Sternbergia, unique to the Golan Heights.
“Every person needs beautiful nature in his environment to enrich his work and be a source of inspiration,” said Goldstein.
Israel has 400 nature reserves and 81 national parks that provide the public with hiking trails and preserve ecological areas from land theft, robbery and illegal mining, among other activities.
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