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.

tal forest tourism 311 (photo credit: Dudu Ferro)
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.
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 theIsraeli public will prove once again that when the Israeli family isoffered added value, they prefer a visit to the Banyas Canyon over ashopping mall in some industrial zone and taking part in tours andfestivals over watching television.”
Among the familyactivities offered around the country are: an archeology-based quest inApollonia Fortress, near Herzliya, a sand castle competition in theAlexander River National Park, a treasure hunt in Ashkelon NationalPark, a rustic circus in Beit She’an and a sea turtle rescue operationat Dor Beach, near Zichron Yaakov.
The good weather is expected to continue, with temperatures rising throughout the week.