Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve
The largest of Lebanon’s nature reserves, Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve stretches from Dahr Al-Baidar in the north to Niha Mountain in the south. It is blanketed with oak forests on its northeastern slopes and juniper and oak forests on its southeastern slopes. However, the reserve’s most famous attractions are its three magnificent cedar forests of Maasser Al-Shouf, Barouk and AinZhalta/Bmohary. These Cedar forests account for a quarter of the remaining cedar forest in Lebanon, and some trees are estimated to over 1,000 years old.
The Shouf Cedar Reserve has a vision as a world class Biosphere Reserve where natural and cultural heritage are conserved, resources are treated as wealth, investment receives due care, and development is controlled by citizens, businesses, and the managing authority. It has the following objectives:
- Taking care of the capital
- Empowering the management team
- Supporting the shareholders
- Putting the Shouf Biosphere Reserve on the global map
The Shouf Cedar Reserve organizes and monitors various important programs: research and monitoring, rural development, environmental awareness, capacity building and ecotourism. The link between tourism and protected areas is becoming more important as tourism activities are relying more on natural heritage combined with cultural heritage in supporting conservation initiatives. Ecotourism is a field that is very dependent on effective and efficient planning.
There are a number of walking trails in the Reserve extending over 250km.. Visitors can enjoy short, medium, and long trails, and to insure that every individual will have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Shouf Cedar Reserve a 300 meter trail is developed for people with special needs (handicapped, blind, old, etc…)
In the Shouf Biosphere Reserve also offers biking, snowshoeing (in winter), cultural tours in the villages, local festivals, delicious traditional food, exhibitions of rural products, and an overnight stay in any of the guest houses in the villages near the Reserve.