Conserving the Jerusalem Forest

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Progress of Forest Master Plan Preparations.

Preparations for the Jerusalem Forest master plan (South section) have reached their high point, with the presentation of the plan to about 100 people, attended by the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Tamir Nir.
The Jerusalem Forest master plan is dedicated mainly to making the forest accessible to the general public, by developing a system of paths for hiking at several levels of difficulty and for cycling, and mainly by connecting the city and its neighborhoods to the forest. The plan was developed over several months by a KKL-JNF lead team, and in which Jerusalem Municipality representatives, administrators of communities adjacent to the forest and area residents took part as well.

The KKL-JNF team - which included Regional Architect Bella Nudelman as well as Hanoch Zoref and Gidi Bashan from the Mountain region - presented the plan at the end of February to Municipality representatives, administrators and primarily to many residents, and it received broad support. In a meeting held at the Zippori Center in the Jerusalem Forest, there was also a presentation of the risks posed to the plan, such as plans for a fifth water pipeline to Jerusalem, among others.

After the plan’s presentation, a long discussion was held, in which residents voiced their opinions of it, as well as on other topics related to the conservation and development of the forest, such as aspects of public infrastructure and greenery upkeep, and KKL-JNF activities in the forest, via communities and municipal educational institutions.

During the event, a majority of participants signed a petition objecting to the Ramot Slopes construction plan, which threatens the Ramot Forest, and is at the top priority of KKL-JNF’s fight against construction in the Jerusalem hills.

The plan presentation was merely the first phase in promoting the system of paths and entries into the forest, which still depends on the preparation of detailed plans, preventing risks, carrying out the planned infrastructure, and finding the budget required in order to implement it all.