The Alexander River descends from the hills of Samaria to Israel’s Sharon region where it dives underground, mingles with the groundwater and transforms itself into a stream that flows all year round amidst abundant vegetation. In the past the river suffered from neglect and pollution, but in 1995 the Alexander River Rehabilitation Administration was created under the auspices of the Hefer Valley Regional Council, the Jewish National Fund, the Ministry for Environmental Protection, the Sharon Drainage Authority and some fifteen other official bodies. The Alexander River Rehabilitation Project and, specifically, the illustrative sample stretch of the waterway, where the bridges are located, has won prestigious prizes.
The sample stretch of the river to the north of Kibbutz Maabarot is the waterway’s main attraction, and it has been named Italy Park in honor of KKL-JNF Italy’s donation to the project. This section, which extends for 750 meters, has been rehabilitated and landscaped, and today it is bordered by an extensive lawn, recreation areas, seating areas and ecologically appropriate riverbank vegetation. The park’s dirt roads are wheelchair-accessible and suitable for strollers and pushchairs.
The more easterly of the bridges along this stretch of water, which is known as the Cow Bridge, is a concrete structure that Kibbutz Maabarot’s cowmen used in former days when they led their herds to pasture. It is closed to visitors. Slightly further downstream we come to the steel suspension bridge constructed in 2001 as part of the rehabilitation project. Visitors can walk along the bridge to view the river from the vantage point in the middle. The bridge leads to a route that takes us to the turtles’ breeding ground.
From the sample stretch of the river we can stroll along the River Walk, which, after 2.7 kilometers of paved path, brings us to the Turtle Bridge in Water Turtle Park. This is the spot to observe the local soft-shelled freshwater turtles.
How to get there
The sample stretch of the river can be reached from the access road that leads to Kibbutz Maabarot and Kibbutz Mishmar HaSharon. This road branches off the old Coastal Road (Route no. 4) behind the gas station at HaOgen Junction. The Water Turtle Park can be reached from the access road to Kfar Vitkin, which branches off the old Coastal Road (Route no. 4) at Hefer Junction.