The new recreation area is expected to attract large numbers of visitors to the forest throughout the year, and especially in winter, when the anemones are in bloom. The site will include accessible
playground equipment, extreme sports facilities, paths, seating areas and picnic tables.
The site is designed for both local residents and visitors from all over Israel. KKL-JNF Southern Region architect Nili Stern-Biber
explains: “When the anemones flower, people from all over the country come to visit the forest, and the new recreation area will offer them an attractive leisure venue amidst natural surroundings.”
KKL-JNF began to plant the Western Negev
’s Shokeda Forest in the 1950s, and in recent years, with the help of residents of the nearby Moshav Shokeda, Moshav Kfar Maimon and Kibbutz Alumim, it has become a community forest
. The woodland includes eucalypts, tamarisks, pines and casuarinas, and it is studded with well-preserved heritage sites, play areas, picnic sites and cycling trails.
The picnic area and playground will be established at one of the Scarlet South (‘Darom Adom’) Festival’s
main sites. The festival, which takes place in February every year when the anemones are in bloom, attracts tens of thousands of people, and at the weekends the forest is transformed into a vast playground and events arena. Clowns, jugglers, costumed actors, bouncy inflatables, pony rides and a farmers’ market are just a few of the attractions that turn a woodland visit into a memorable outing for all the family. But, with all due respect to this impressive production, the creation of the forest’s main attraction – the magnificent carpets of scarlet anemones – requires no human intervention.Shir Ziwy
and Kesem Kraus
of Beersheba took a half day off from work to come and see the anemones, and, naturally, Luka the dog didn’t miss this opportunity and came along with them. “Getting out of the city and into nature gives us a sense of freedom,” said Kesem Kraus. “It’s important to take a break from routine every now and again.”
The plans for the new recreation area place special emphasis on making the site user-friendly for people with disabilities, by providing an accessible playground area and parking lot, together with picnic tables suitable for those in wheelchairs. “It’s important to us to open up the forest to everyone and invite people with disabilities to come here, too,” said Nili Stern-Biber.