Routes accessible for all

Parks, recreation and routes for the disabled.

By RONIT SVIRSKY
February 8, 2012 15:13
Hikes for the disabled

Hikes for the disabled 390. (photo credit: KKL-JNF Photo archive)

 
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KKL-JNF, with help from its friends worldwide, has been working for many years to improve accessibility in its sites and forests for the disabled, who are as entitled as everyone else to enjoy the land of Israel and spend time in nature.

Accordingly, we invest in special infrastructure to enable convenient access to our parks and recreation areas. Here are descriptions of a number of our accessible sites and routes throughout Israel.

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Nahal Hashofet trail in Ramat Menashe

In Nahal Hashofet in the Menashe Forests Park, KKL-JNF has built a walking path along the banks of the stream, suitable for the entire public, including those with walking limitations, those with strollers, those using electric scooters and even those with visual limitations. Walking along the stream next to the rushing water, you pass a small waterfall pouring into a little pond.

The unique vegetation includes elm trees with serrated, asymmetrical leaves, as well as the dense stream vegetation of reeds, raspberries, willows and oleander. Cypress, fig and pine trees have been planted along the way with shady terraces mainly of willow trees along the path. There are, in addition, small caves, the ruins of an ancient flour mill and a large cave on the other side of the streambed. At the end of the path the Ein Ami spring bubbles out of an aqueduct and flows into a pool carved out of the white rock surface. From here you go back to the exit point in the Haruvim Recreation Area on an accessible path which is partly asphalt and partly wooden deck. It is lined with benches and accessible picnic tables. The length of the path is about 1500 meters, about half an hour quick walk or up to an hour leisurely stroll. Near the stream there you'll also find Peace Valley and Hazorea Recreation Area, which has restrooms and playground equipment for children.

How to get there: Enter Menashe Forests Park via Route 66 – the Yokneam-Megiddo road. Continue driving from the entrance and before the Irish bridge, park in the Haruvim Recreation Area. The walking path starts near the sign to Nahal Hashofet.

Haruvit Forest, Warrior's Park (Park Halochem)

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The Warrior's Park, extending over some 300 dunam, was expressly established to enable the handicapped and disabled population to vacation and have fun in nature. In the park, which is open to the general public, a special emphasis was placed on installing services for the disabled that include convenient access to picnic tables and active recreational and play facilities adapted to this part of the population.

KKL-JNF created a system of paved paths with slopes adapted to wheelchair traffic in the park.

Traversing these paths takes you past the remains of an antique oil press, a karst cave, ancient steps and old water cisterns. A kilometer long trail was also prepared for climbing to the highest observation point in the forest, overlooking a spectacular view of the Coastal Plain to the southwest. In the winter and spring, the site is covered with the splendid blooms of daffodils, cyclamens and poppies.

How to get there: For those coming from the coastal plain, take Route 383 from Re'em Junction (Masmiya) towards Moshav Zachariya, Azeka Junction and turn into the forest between kilometers 7 and 8. For those coming from Jerusalem or Beersheba, drive on the Beit Guvrin- Sha'ar Haguy road (Route 38) and turn westward at Azeka Junction (Route 383 – Gefen-Tirosh).

Go about 5 kilometers and a little before Kfar Menachem you'll see a sign indicating left to Haruvit Forest.

Special routes for the physically challenged
The Mountain Area – Jerusalem Corridor

There are routes in the Jerusalem hill region with observation points in the heart of green forests, with springs that can be reached by traveling on our disabled-accessible routes. You can take one such route that leaves Barbahar (the Bar Giora information center) and goes to the Hadassah Women's recreation area – about 1.5 kilometers, with accessible restrooms, parking lots, and playground equipment. There is another 1.5 kilometer route in the Kedoshei Kahir Recreation Area near Hirbet Sa'adim in the Aminadav Forest. The trail has accessible facilities and restrooms located at the Kennedy Memorial. Another short route suitable for the disabled starts from the upper parking lot of Sataf and has scenic lookouts all along it, as well as accessible restrooms and a café. A short distance from there, in the Neve Ilan Forest, is the Loky Recreation Area, which has an observation point built for the disabled. Other sites include the Nine-Eleven Memorial in the Arazim Valley and the Ontario Recreation Area in the Jerusalem Forest, which has accessible picnic tables and gym equipment. The combination jungle gym on the site is not accessible to the disabled.

Modi'in region – Ben Shemen Forest

The Ben Shemen Forest with its green expanses, walking routes and many sites for picnicking in nature includes the Tikva Recreation Area with dozens of picnic tables, playground equipment, practical sculptures and a bonfire lighting area, all of which are accessible to the disabled. There are also biological bathrooms and a network of walking routes and disabled access to all the recreation area's facilities. The Garden for the Blind in Ben Shemen Forest is an area stretching over some ten dunam, including a forest with new saplings, an ancient agricultural farm and raised beds of spice plants. There is an amazing 600 meter-long circular walking path equipped with a hand rail, with explanatory signs including illustrations in relief and text in Hebrew, English and Braille. One of the special attractions is a workout "gym in nature" at Ben Shemen Forest, an accessible picnic area with tables arranged in groups and hexagonal exercise apparatus on a rubber safety surface.

Coastal Plain region

The coastal plain is a green rural area with scenic lookouts and enchanted corners in nature and forests. The Eshtaol scenic lookout in the Eshtaol Forest includes picnic tables, two adjoining ones of which are accessible, and an accessible panoramic observation point with a view of Beit Shemesh and the Judean Hills. There is a jungle gym that is not accessible for the disabled, but the Ela Recreation Area in the Tzora Forest offers a number of accessible picnic tables and an accessible bonfire lighting area. The Machal recreation area at the entrance to the Jeep Road (Burma Road) from the direction of Route 38 has a few accessible picnic tables and an access path to the monument. The Norway Recreation Area, also adapted for the disabled, is located next to the Eshtaol Junction in Martyrs' Forest.

Two other accessible sites in Central Israel

Ilanit Forest in Emek Hefer offers you a unique grove of trees and a 2 kilometer trail that is especially suitable for hiking this time of year.

Day-trippers in the greater Petach Tikva area have the option of visiting an accessible recreation area in the Rosh Ha'ayin Forest which has a number of accessible tables and play equipment.

For information about other accessible sites throughout Israel: www.kkl.org.il/eng

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