National Parks and Nature Reserves of Israel
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National Parks and Nature Reserves of Israel
Masada National Park
Ruins of the ancient synagogue at Bar'am National Park
Natural warm water pool at Gan HaShlosha

National parks of Israel are declared historic sites or nature reserves, which are mostly operated and maintained by the National Nature and Parks Authority. As of 2005, Israel maintains more than 150 nature reserves that protect 2,500 species of indigenous wild plants, 20 species of fish, 400 species of birds and 70 species of mammals.[1]

Some parks are located at archaeological sites such as Tel Megiddo, Beit She'an, Ashkelon and Kursi. Others, such as the Alexander stream, Mount Carmel National Park or Hurshat Tal focus on nature and the preservation of local flora and fauna. Several parks and nature reserves have camping options, such as tent grounds and bungalows, open to small groups and individual campers.[2] Some of them are located in the Golan Heights and the West Bank.

In 2011, the most popular national parks were Yarkon National Park, Caesarea, Ein Gedi and Tel Dan.[3]

History

Shivta National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site

During the 19th century, the region had a sparse population of between 275,000 and 475,000.[4] Waves of immigration expanded local population needs. Forests were cut down to supply coal for heating, industry and the Turkish railway. The German Templers brought with them shotguns, quickly adopted by local peasants for hunting wildlife. The First World War was characterized by massive acquisition of firearms,[] and German officers were very active hunters.[5] By the early 20th century, hunting threatened the extinction of crocodile, Arabian ostrich, roe deer, fallow deer, Syrian brown bear, and onager (wild ass).[] The Asiatic lion had been extinct in Palestine since around the Crusader period in the 10-13th centuries, while it survived in Syria and Arabia all until the 19th-20th century.[6]Asiatic cheetah was last observed in 1959 and the Rabian leopard is currently acutely threatened by extinction.[5]

As a result, the British Mandatory government passed laws aimed at saving the local flora and fauna. In 1924 a Hunting Act was published and in 1926 a Forest Ordinance were published. Many sites, such as the forests of Mount Carmel and Mount Meron, were declared forest reserves; certain trees were declared protected.

In 1953 the Knesset passed the Wildlife Protection Law ( ? ?-) and the Minister of Agriculture was appointed for its implementation. In 1955, the department for the improvement of the country's landscape ( ?) was established in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, which was assigned the establishment of tourist infrastructure. The department established a number of well-known national parks, such as Gan HaShlosha, Caesarea, Shivta and Avdat. Following the ecologically disastrous drying of Lake Hula and the resulting public pressure, the Hula Reserve was established in 1964, which was the first declared nature reserve in Israel. In 1963 the Knesset approved the "National parks and nature reserves act" ( ? ?), whose legislation process had already began in 1956. As a result, two authorities were established: the National Parks Authority and the Nature Reserves Authority. In 1998 the two authorities were merged into one body - Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

Parks and reserves

Nitzanim Sand Dune Park, Ashdod
Korazim National Park

In Israel the distinction between national parks and nature reserves is often hard to make. National parks are in most cases centered around archaeological sites, but sometimes include protected nature habitats. The nature reserves often contain not just protected fauna and flora, but also major archaeological sites. The Hermon Stream Nature Reserve for instance covers a stretch of forested land, but also the vast remains of the ancient city of Banias/Caesarea Philippi. Sometimes an administrative separation is made, as for instance at the Judean desert oasis of Ein Gedi, home to both the Ein Gedi Antiquities National Park and Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.

National parks of Israel

This is a partial list, containing only the best known national parks.

Name Region
Akhziv Beach National Park (nature reserve with some archaeology) Northern District: Western Galilee
Alexander River National Park (nature reserve with some archaeology) Central District
Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve Northern District: Upper Galilee
Apollonia-Arsuf National Park
Ashkelon National Park Central District: Southern Coastal Plain
Avdat National Park Southern District: the Negev
Baptismal Site on the Jordan River - Qasr al-Yahud[7]1 Southern District: Judean Desert
Bar'am National Park Northern District: Upper Galilee
Beit Alfa Synagogue National Park Northern District: Jezreel Valley
Beit Guvrin National Park Central District: Shephelah
Beit She'an National Park Northern District: Beit She'an valley
Beit She'arim National Park Northern District: Jezreel Valley
Caco/Qaqun National Park Central District: Hefer Valley, Sharon plain
Caesarea National Park Northern District: Sharon plain coast
Castel National Park Central District: Jerusalem corridor
Ein Avdat National Park (nature reserve with some archaeology) Southern District: the Negev
Ein Gedi Antiquities National Park (see also Ein Gedi Nature Reserve) Southern District: Judean Desert and The Dead Sea
Ein Hemed National Park (fortified Crusader structure and nature reserve) Central District: Jerusalem corridor
Eshkol National Park (Besor; nature reserve with some archaeology) Southern District: the Negev
Gan Hashlosha National Park (Sakhne; water park and archaeology museum) Northern District: Jezreel Valley
Hamat Tiberias National Park Northern District: Sea of Galilee
Lakhish National Park (not fully ready to receive tourists) Central District: Shephelah
Ma'ayan Harod (Harod Spring) National Park (nature reserve and Yehoshua and Olga Hankin memorial house) Northern District: Jezreel Valley
HaSharon Park (nature reserve) Central District: Sharon plain
Hermon Stream (Banias) Nature Reserve (Banias/Caesarea Philippi archaeological site and Hermon Stream nature reserve)1 Northern District: Golan Heights
Herodion National Park1 Southern District: Judean Desert/West Bank
Hurshat Tal National Park (public park and nature reserve) Northern District: Upper Galilee
Kochav HaYarden National Park (Belvoir Fortress and Igael Tumarkin sculpture park) Northern District: Lower Galilee
Korazim National Park Northern District: Upper Galilee
Kursi National Park1 Northern District: Golan Heights
Mamshit National Park Southern District: the Negev
Masada National Park Southern District: Judean Desert and the Dead Sea
Mount Carmel National Park Northern District: Mt. Carmel
Nimrod Fortress National Park (Qal'at Namrud)1 Northern District: Golan Heights
Qumran National Park1 Southern District: Judean Desert and the Dead Sea
Ramon Park at Makhtesh Ramon (nature reserve with archaeological sites) Southern District: the Negev
Ben-Gurion's Tomb National Park at Midreshet Ben-Gurion near Sde Boker[8] Southern District: the Negev
Shivta National Park Southern District: the Negev
Sebastia National Park (Samaria/Shomron)[9]1 Central District: Samaria/West Bank
Tel Arad National Park Southern District: Judean Desert
Tel Be'er Sheva National Park Southern District: the Negev
Tel Hazor National Park Northern District: Upper Galilee
Tel Megiddo National Park Northern District: Jezreel Valley
Yarkon National Park (archaeological sites and nature reserve) Central District: Yarkon River springs, central Israel
Yehi'am Fortress National Park Northern District: Upper Galilee
Zippori National Park (Sepphoris) Northern District: Lower Galilee and the valleys
Nahal Me'arot Nature Reserve - World Heritage Site
Crusader ruins at Ein Hemed National Park
Nahal Taninim in northern Israel

Nature reserves of Israel

This is a partial list, containing only the best known nature reserves.

Name Region
Alonei Yitzhak Nature Reserve Northern District
Alonei Abba Nature Reserve Northern District: Jezreel Valley
Amud Stream (Nahal Amud) Nature Reserve Northern District: Upper Galilee
Ashdod Nitzanim Sand Dune Park Central District: Southern Coastal Plain
Soreq/Avshalom/Stalactites Cave Central District: Shephelah
Ayun/Iyyon Stream (Nahal Ayun/Iyyon) Northern District: Upper Galilee
Bethsaida (Beit Zaida/Betiha) Nature Reserve (archaeological site and nature reserve) Northern District: Sea of Galilee
Betzet Stream (Nahal Betzet) Northern District: Upper Galilee
Balfouria Northern District: Jezreel Valley
Bitan Aharon Northern District: Sharon plain
Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in the Mount Carmel National Park Northern District: Mt. Carmel
Coral Beach Nature Reserve Eilat
Dor HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve (with Dor Habonim marine nature reserve, Dor and Ma'agan Michael islands, Tel Dor National Park) Northern District: Mt. Carmel coast
Ein Afek Nature Reserve with Tel Afek (archaeological site and nature reserve) Northern District: Western Galilee
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve (nature reserve with several archaeological sites; see also Ein Gedi Antiquities National Park) Southern District: Judean Desert and the Dead Sea
Ein Prat Nature Reserve1[10] Jerusalem district, West Bank
Einot Tzukim (Ein Feshkha) Nature Reserve (nature reserve and archaeological site)1 Southern District: Judean Desert and the Dead Sea (West Bank)
Gamla Nature Reserve (archaeological site and nature reserve)1 Northern District: Golan Heights
Hermon Stream (Banias) Nature Reserve (with Caesarea Philippi archaeological site) Northern District: Golan Heights
Hurshat Tal Northern District: Upper Galilee
Hula Valley Nature Reserve Northern District: Hula Valley
Kerem Ben Zimra Northern District: Upper Galilee
Kziv Stream (Nahal Kziv) Nature Reserve with Crusader-era Montfort Castle Northern District: Upper Galilee
Mount Arbel Nature Reserve with several archaeological sites Northern District: Lower Galilee
Mt. Carmel Nature Reserve - see Mount Carmel National Park Northern District: Mt. Carmel
Mount Gilboa Nature Reserve Northern District
Mount Meron Nature Reserve Northern District: Upper Galilee
Mount Tabor Nature Reserve Northern District: Lower Galilee
Nahal Me'arot Nature Reserve - UNESCO Site of Human Evolution (paleoanthropological sites)[11] Northern District: Mt. Carmel
Neot Kedumim Nature Reserve with biblical garden and wildlife breeding center Central District: near Modi'in and the Ben Shemen forest
Pa'ar Cave Nature Reserve Northern District: Upper Galilee
Poleg Stream (Nahal Poleg) Nature Reserve Central District: Sharon Plain
Rosh HaNikra Nature Reserve - marine caves and 20th-century tunnels Northern District: Western Galilee
Snir Stream (Nahal Senir) Nature Reserve Northern District: Golan Heights
Shimron Nature Reserve Northern District: Jezreel Valley
Tabor/Tavor Stream (Nahal Tavor) Northern District: Lower Galilee
Taninim Stream (Nahal Taninim) Nature Reserve Northern District: Mt. Carmel coast
Tel Dan Nature Reserve including major archaeological site Northern District: Upper Galilee
Tel Anafa Nature Reserve around archaeological site Northern District: Upper Galilee
Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve1 Northern District: Golan Heights down to Sea of Galilee
Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve (desert wildlife) Eilat region:the Arava Valley north of Eilat
Zakum (Maoz Haim) Nature Reserve Northern District: Beit She'an Valley

1Located in the Israeli-occupied territories.

See also

References

External links


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