Israel Trails Committee, Tel-Aviv/Israel
Round Be'er-Sheva Trail (RBST) is a 42 Km marked hiking trail that encircles the city of Be'er-Sheva. The RBST is based on previously marked trails, to which new trails had been marked and added, in order to allow a continuous hike around the urban area of the city. The trail serves as a mediator between the urban cluster and the open outdoors, as it is situated on the border of the developed space and open space. The trail was originated by the Orienteering group of the Society for the Protection of nature in Israel. Its construction was only possible thanks to generous support from private and official sides, among them the Israel National Parks Authority.
The motivation for erecting the project was the primal will to establish a green belt that will surround the built urban space of the city of Be'er-Sheva. This belt consists of wide and diverse environmental open spaces that, in a major part of them, future intensive and massive development and construction plans are to take place, resulting in great and irreversible environmental changes to the open spaces, the flora, the fauna and the landscape. The RSBT was designed to go through the open spaces that border the city in order to create a green belt and merge with the city's future planning, knowing that one cannot stop the natural expansion of the city but rather participate and minimize the impact.
Principals and vision of planning the RBST:
- Link existing infrastructure with new trails.
- Encourage the use of elements and sites en route to create centers of activity.
- Clinging to the existing topography and paths, rather than building special new bike and hiking routes.
- Easy and convenient access for all.
- Multi-Cultural – the city of Be'er-Sheva is a metropolitan kernel of many and different types of population. In order to make the local outdoors accessible to the local residents and its environs, the RBST leads to many centers of activity, such as sport, health activities, hiking, biking, world and local heritage sites, archeological and historical sites and religious (Christian, Muslim and Jewish) sites.
- The trail as a well groomed and special backyard – the Round Be'er-Sheva Trail, living to its name, surrounds the existing edifices of the city. Maintaining the trail and its environs will lead to stronger sense of place and identification with the open outdoors, thus preserving its natural resources, flora and fauna.
- Engaging the community in planning and executing. When work on the RSBT started the people of Be'er-Sheva took active participation in constructing and maintaining the trails.
- Preserving and conserving the open spaces around the city - the trail and the trails that connect to it pass through were the natural assets are emphasized and felt.