Historic Nature Sites
The Hulda Forest dates back to 1905, when a company called Geula, or "Redemption," purchased 500 acres of land from the Arabs of Hulda village. Geula intended to divide its purchase into sections and sell them to Jewish newcomers. Unfortunately, massive grazing depleted the earth of its minerals and the soil at Hulda was barren. For many years nobody wanted the desolate plots. Geula officials, who had borrowed from the bank to acquire the land, worried about how they would recover their losses.
Geula received it salvation in 1908, when the JNF decided to plant a forest at Hulda in honor of Theodor Herzl. He passed away a few years earlier, and when donors were told the money was for an olive-tree forest in his memory, they generously supported JNF’s first forest. This was a challenging project because olive trees are not well suited to the soil at Hulda. The vast majority of olive-tree saplings sown at Hulda soon perished. Eventually the JNF completely revised its thinking, and in 1912 planted its very first pine forest at Hulda.
At the beginning of the trail, today’s visitors can see the olive trees that that are left from the original Herzl Forest and its 12,000 saplings.
Herzl Forest today is encompassed within a much larger Hulda Forest filled with an unusually wide variety of trees. Visitors can view oak, South American pepper, eucalyptus, Australian casuarinas, cypress, pine, sycamore, chinaberry, acacia and Washingtonia trees. The Forest has many fruit trees: carob, date, olive and pistachio and, in late winter, flowering almond.