Shouf Biosphere Reserve
The largest of Lebanon nature reserves, Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve stretches from Dahr Al-Baidar in the north to Niha Mountain in the south. Blanketed with oak forests on its northeastern slopes and juniper and oak forests on its southeastern slopes the reserves most famous attractions are its three magnificent cedar forests of Maasser Al-Shouf, Barouk and Ain Zhalta - Bmohary. These Cedar forests account for a quarter of the remaining cedar forest in Lebanon, and some tress are estimated to be 2,000 years old. The size of the reserve makes it a good location for the conservation of medium size mammals such as the wolf and the Lebanese jungle cat, as well as various species of mountain and plants.
It organizes and monitors various important programs: Research and monitoring, Rural Development, Environmental Awareness, Capacity building and remarkably Ecotourism where 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.
Tourism packages help to become a tool for conservation that contributes to the quality of life and economic opportunities of local communities by introducing the visitor to the uniqueness of the attractions, and at the same time benefit the local communities directly.
There is a Trail Network in the Reserve that includes 250 km of old cleared walking trails. You can enjoy all levels of trails: short, medium, and long trails, and to insure that every individual will have the opportunity to enjoy the magnificence of the Shouf Cedar Reserve regardless of his/her financial, mental and body ability, a 300 m trail is developed for people having special needs (handicapped, blind, old, etc…)
In the Shouf Biosphere Reserve you can enjoy hiking, biking, snowshoeing in winter times, making a cultural tour in the villages, participating in the local festivals to experience the delicious traditional food and exhibit the rural products, and staying in any of the guest houses in the near villages to the reserve.