The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is set to work with Google to document the Israel National Trail, using the Internet giant’s Street View Trekker.
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It will be the longest trail in the world to be recorded with this technique, as well as the first that crosses the entire length of a country. The project is expected to take three months and will start in coming days.
SPNI dedicated the Israel National Trail in 1995 to provide a hiking path leading from one end of the country to the other. The trail was the brainchild of journalist Avraham Tamir and the late tour guide Ori Dvir, who headed the SPNI committee for marking trails. The 1,100-kilometer (684-mile) path runs from Kibbutz Dan in the north and ends at the Eilat School in the south.
The initiators of the trail declined to include areas beyond the Green Line. The trail is supposed to reflect not only the variety of Israel’s landscapes and nature sites, but also the variety of cultural heritage sites, connecting to both the past and present. It also constitutes an important venue for nature conservation because its importance has given priority to preserving adjacent areas while developing building plans.
Ahead of the project’s launch, Google Israel CEO Meir Brand said, “We are proud of the partnership with SPNI for the benefit of hikers both in and out of Israel. After completing this mission, the Israel National Trail will join heritage and nature sites around the world.”
Moshe “Kosha” Pakman, CEO of SPNI, added, “This exposure will encourage tourists and citizens to experience by foot the varied natural and cultural landscapes of Israel, to fall in love with them and to work to preserve them.”