In the heart of Kiryat Shmona, nestled between residential neighborhoods, lies an urban natural space that is unique in Israel – Park HaZahav. Zahav means ‘gold’ in Hebrew; the park is named after the stream running through it – Ein Zahav Stream – whose source is Ein Zahav (ein=spring).
Park HaZahav in Kiryat Shmona, covering 11 hectares in the heart of the city, is not a standard urban park, rather a unique urban nature site that comprises many diverse natural resources. In addition to intensive activity areas designated for leisure and play, and open to all, the park contains a diverse, protected, natural area comprising Ein Zahav Stream and HaTachanot Stream (Tachanot refers to two water mills [tachana=mill] which were active along this stream in the past), which flow through the heart of the park. These streams have created a rich and diverse range of aquatic habitats, including shallow sections, rapids, deep sections and pools that support diverse riparian vegetation that has developed with time into a rich riparian forest – a rare sight among Israel’s landscapes.
In recent years, the Amuta for the Preservation of Nature Charms and Scenery in Kiryat Shmona (n.g.o) has worked hard to promote planning and management of the park as the first “Urban Community Nature Site” in northern Israel.
“Urban Nature” is a new concept enjoying growing public awareness within the local planning scene in Israel. The park’s purpose, beyond preservation of natural resources, is to facilitate easy access to nature for the general public. , Nature sites in residential area, maximize accessibility while minimizing costs. Past experience in Israel and around the world in urban nature management indicates that such sites gradually become central, important, urban infrastructures that provide a range of environmental and community services within the city, and play an important and pivotal role in creating a pleasant urban environment, providing a unique identity and multifaceted experience for the city’s residents.
Promoting Park HaZahav and transforming it into an urban-community nature site is an urban renewal initiative – an initiative which is capable of creating a self-renewing urban environment in Kiryat Shmona which will facilitate and contribute to the development of the city’s unique identity, to community empowerment and involvement of residents, to improving the city’s image at the regional and national levels and to improving the quality of life within the city.
We believe that through unique branding, sustainable management and supervision, and creation of a range of appropriate attractions relating to nature, heritage and leisure, we will be able to restore the historical standing of the park as a center for leisure activities among the local community, hikers and tourists, that provides visitors with leisure options alongside education and direct contact with these natural systems unique to our city.
The Amuta for the Preservation of Charms of Nature and Scenery has been active in Kiryat Shmona since 1990. The Jewish Federation of San Francisco, which donated the money for a masterplan for the HaZahav Park and for setting up the northern part of,it, supported the establishment of the Amuta with the aim of generating cooperation and involvement of the city’s residents in the planning process, establishment and operation of the park. The Fund numbers about 20 members with different backgrounds, from Kiryat Shmona and its surrounds, who work together voluntarily to promote the park.
The most important projects undertaken by the Amuta in recent years include:
Initiating and leading the public campaign against construction of a residential neighborhood within the park – a successful campaign both for the Amuta and for the public which lead to cancellation of the plan by the Israel Land Authority to build 70 housing units within the park.
A public campaign to resume the water flow in the Ein Zahav Stream who dried up due to pumping of all the water by Mekorot (Israel National Water Co.). At the end of a 4-year uncompromising campaign the joint effort by the Amuta and its various partners lead to resumption of water flow into the river in the summer of 2011, with an agreement for complete cessation of pumping from the Ein Zahav spring within three years.
Promotion and positioning of the park as the first urban-community nature site of its kind in the north of Israel – execution of professional flora and fauna surveys, construction of a broad and diverse database of planners and specialized professionals, organization of symposia and seminars for dissemination of the findings and promotion of local awareness of the park’s natural resources. In the last year the Fund has begun several new projects to promote the park, and is already reaping the rewards.
Maintenance, preservation and development of the park – organization of dozens of community activities for preservation and development of the park, with the help of volunteers from the city and its surrounds.
Improving the park’s profile – promoting local awareness about the importance of the park for the city, the community and for the large diversity of natural resources found within its borders. As part of this effort the Fund has set up an internet site containing diverse and detailed information on the park, a Facebook page, and a bi-monthly electronic newsletter that is sent to residents of Kiryat Shmona and its surrounds.
The Amuta for the Preservation of Charms of Nature and Scenery in Kiryat Shmona is a not-for-profit organization that invests all of its resources in activities to promote environmental issues, the most important of which is preservation and development of HaZahav Park and the Ein Zahav Stream in Kiryat Shmona.
The Fund has dozens of volunteers who work hard for Kiryat Shmona’s community and for the benefit of future generations.
In order to continue its activities, the Fund relies on financial donations.
All donations are welcome.
We thank you sincerely,
The Amuta for the Preservation of Charms of Nature and Scenery in Kiryat Shmona.
שמחנו לארח בחג הט"ו בשבט, את קבוצת תלמידי הנהגה ירוקה של ביה"ס "שבט סופר" מחצור הגלילית. התלמידים סיירו איתנו ברחבי הפארק, טיילו בשבילי הג'ונגל, ערכו תצפיות ומחקר על הנחל, הצמחים ובעלי החיים והכינו איתנו מתקני האכלה לציפורים... היה פשוט כיף חיים!
איזה יום שמח!!!! הגשם במיטבו עושה רק טוב לנחל עין זהב שהפך היום לנהר שוצף וקוצף! כנסו ללינק וצפו בסרטון