For many years, the Hula Valley was neglected because of its swamps and the danger of malaria. The lake and the swamps covered a third of the area, and another third had groundwater very close to the surface, so farming was not possible. At the end of the nineteenth century, with the Jewish repatriation of the Hula Valley, it became necessary to drain the swamps, which was postponed until after the establishment of the State of Israel. Then, in 1951, KKL-JNF started draining the Hula swamps. It was the first national engineering project undertaken by the State of Israel, and when it was completed, the local communities had 60,000 dunams of additional land, which they used for agriculture, mainly crops, orchards and fishponds. The valley turned from a region plagued by malaria into a flourishing place that attracts visitors.
The importance of the Hula Valley restoration project and the recent rehabilitation of part of the lake is no less of a feat than the draining of the swamps sixty years ago. The KKL-JNF restoration project has turned the area, which covers 75 sq km, from an ecological disaster into an area flourishing with a great diversity of vegetation and wildlife. It has turned the Hula Valley into a great attraction for tourists, with bird watching sites, waterways full of fish, recreational areas in natural surroundings, animals, birds and a great selection of possibilities for outings on bicycles, in vehicles and on foot.