Celebrating 50 years of the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, a natural gem in the heart of the Judean Desert

The Nature and Parks Authority held a professional conference on the subject of the reserve and the natural values ​​that exist in it, with lectures, a presentation of fascinating studies and a nostalgic evening

Tamar Zandberg, Minister of Environmental Protection, at the Ein Gedi Reserve Conference. Photo by Yaniv Cohen, RTG

The Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is one of the pearls of nature and the promenades are engraved in each and every one’s memory. Anyone who grew up in the State of Israel has probably traveled there at least once, if not more, in the course of his life, and remembers the reserve well. The Nature and Parks Authority has celebrated 50 years since the official declaration of Ein Gedi as a nature reserve. In honor of the event, a professional conference was held yesterday (Thursday) in the presence of 200 participants on the subject of the reserve and its values, in the presence Tamar Zandberg – Minister of Environmental Protection, Shaul Goldstein – Director General of the Nature and Parks Authority, Nir Wenger – Head of the Tamar Regional Council, researchers and other leaders in the fields of promenades and nature in Israel.

The conference dealt, among other things, with the unique coexistence between man and nature that has existed in the Ein Gedi Reserve throughout its 50 years, which makes it, on the one hand, a model of nature conservation and an exemplary experiential promenade accessible to the general public in the heart of wild, spectacular and unique nature. The professional conference presented research on a variety of topics around the reserve and the area, including: the uniqueness and values ​​of the Ein Gedi Reserve, Judean Desert Tigers, the natural right to water, Ein Gedi floods and changes in the Dead Sea, the life of chamois and rock rabbits in the reserve and what can be learned from them. The experience of visiting Ein Gedi and more. A discussion was also held with the participation of the lecturers and the audience.

Meanwhile, during the conference, the Nature and Parks Authority presented the results of a special survey, conducted among hikers on the Ein Gedi Reserve in honor of its 50th anniversary, and examined visitor satisfaction, the balance between nature conservation and the visit experience and how visitors perceive Ein Gedi. Among the salient findings of the survey is that there is a very high level of satisfaction with the visit to the reserve and the balance between nature conservation and the experience of visiting, and most visitors consider Ein Gedi as one of the most beautiful places in Israel and an Israeli symbol. In addition, the survey shows that a visit to the reserve encourages a desire for another visit to nature. Meanwhile, it appears that 40% of the respondents have visited the Ein Gedi Reserve between three and six times in the past year and most of them have recently hiked the Nahal David route. The full results of the survey will be presented at the conference.

The hidden waterfall Nahal Arugot. Photo by Mano Greenspan

According to the Minister of Environmental Protection, Tamar Zandberg: “Ein Gedi Reserve is a unique natural gem in the heart of the Judean Desert, with unique plant species and a rich wildlife. A wonderful coexistence between nature and humans takes place here. The link between the climate crisis and the ecological crisis cannot be severed, as moist habitats are under constant threat. Extensive nature reserves are the cornerstone in preserving biodiversity in Israel, and I made this issue a particularly high priority as soon as I took office. We are already working on a wide range of fronts to prevent damage to nature and to promote its preservation, to enable it and us to continue. ”

Shaul Goldstein, Director General of the Nature and Parks Authority: “Ein Gedi was the first reserve to be declared, thus paving the way for the rest of the declarations. In Ein Gedi, a special combination between an oasis, an ancient synagogue and fresh water. All of them together provide a special experience for each visitor and this is reflected in the impressive increase in the number of visitors to the place – from Israel and abroad.

Dudi Greenbaum, Director of the Ein Gedi Reserve at the Nature and Parks Authority: “The Ein Gedi Reserve is celebrating 50 years of coexistence between nature and man. Thanks to this coexistence, the reserve is an important and significant field of research for many researchers from Israel and the world, and also allows the many travelers who visit it to experience true nature. “On this day, a public conference dealing with nature, promenades and researchers will present long-term studies and the social gathering will be attended by those who made this coexistence exist – the inspectors, guides, residents of the area and lovers of the reserve who will tell stories from the past.”

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