- Title: LEBANON: Promotion of 350-kilometre hiking trail for tourists and nature lovers
- Date: 30th April 2007
- Summary: VARIOUS OF HIKERS TOURING EHDEN'S RELIGIOUS AND HISTORIC SITES STATUE OF PATRIARCH YOHANNA MAKHLOUF ANCIENT CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS SITE IN EHDEN
- Embargoed: 15th May 2007 23:55
- Location: Lebanon
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Nature / Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA80C24BPMK8YTQKP34BF2Z5R2
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Lebanon is widely known as a country of deep divisions, rich history and beautiful nature -- eye candy for many Arabs and foreigners. But many tourists have refrained from visiting the country since last year's devastating Israel-Hezbollah war.
In a move to lure tourists back and to promote eco-tourism, the Lebanese are now launching their first ever hiking trail that stretches from the northern deep mountain to the Bekaa Valley in the south.
The Lebanon Mountain Trail is a collaboration between local communities and Europe-based environmental projects company ECODIT, with funding from U.S. development agency USAID.
"The idea of the Lebanon mountain trail is not new. Many Lebanese like to walk the trails of their country and get to know the far villages in the mountains. So the idea is not new but we wanted to create a national trail from the village of Qobbeiyat in the north to Marjaayoun in the south to be the first walking trail in Lebanon. We started to write up the plans and they were adopted by USAID which helped us during the first two years," said LMT Project Manager Faisal Abu Izzedin during a two-day promotional hike organised for tourism and cultural agencies.
The 350-km trail consists of ancient roads used hundreds of years ago for walking. The LMT has been working over the past two years with local communities and environmentalists to determine the exact points of the trail.
The trail cuts through many of Lebanon's forests, natural reserves and historical sites, and will provide much needed income to local villagers who will provide food and lodging for the hikers during their breaks.
One stop during the promotional hike was the old mountain village of Ehden, well-known for its cedar trees and ancient monasteries.
"There is no danger from mines in the northern trail at all and also other parts of the trail and we are very careful when passing through the trail not to pass through very steep cliffs. So we advise everyone to try this experience. The forests are unique and the people are hospitable," said Field Coordinator Shadi Ghajar.
Israeli cluster bombs and mines left behind from Israel's war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas last summer have killed at least 20 and wounded at least 70 others in southern Lebanon since the war ended in August 2006.
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