Independence Day sees 1.5 million celebrate outdoors

Number of visitors causes JNF to close parks, forests after maximum capacity reached; 400 tons of garbage collected at holiday's end.

Independence Day bbq 187 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Independence Day bbq 187
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
At least 1.5 million Israelis headed to Jewish National Fund (JNF) parks and forests to celebrate Israel's 63rd Independence Day on Tuesday, up 200,000 from last year, Army Radio reported.
The prideful celebrators filled the parks with the sublime scent of barbecue foods, and also left their fair share of garbage. Army Radio said that at least 400 tons were collected.
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The report added optimistically that 400 tons was down from 2010's 450 tons, despite a larger number of people going to the outdoors in order to revel in the fantastic weather that graced this year's Independence Day.
The amount of Israelis in national parks and forests was so great this year that the JNF was forced to make an official announcement ordering additional visitors to steer clear of several parks, saying they had reached their maximum capacity.
At least 30,000 others visited nature reserves, urban parks, and museums, also causing some of these sites to close their doors to the public once the limit visitors was reached.
Forest officials began their cleanup of the national parks and forests Tuesday night, collecting garbage and combing the sites for lit charcoals, working to prevent the possibility of a forest fire. Army Radio reported a number of small, localized fires were put out by the forest service.