Jordan EcoPark was established as a model for ecological preservation in the Jordan Valley, which provides unique opportunities for communities within the Jordan Valley to come together in a manner that respects both natural environment and cultural heritage, and serves to increase public awareness about sustainable development efforts in the Jordan Valley basin.
Part of EcoPeace’s larger program of rehabilitating the Jordan Valley is ensuring that the Lower Jordan Valley is no longer treated as a backyard dumping ground by tourists and residents. This EcoPark plays a major role in rehabilitating the area and promoting nature conservation within the Jordan Valley.
The park has been certified as one of the world’s top 100 sustainable green destination for 2016, 2017 and 2018! The award celebrates the efforts of tourism destinations to maintain responsible and sustainable tourism initiatives.
Background, development and present aims of the EcoPark
In the early 2000s, after mapping the area and identifying environmental threats, EcoPeace Middle East was given 11 hectares (110 donums) of land by the Jordan Valley Authority, including the Ziqlab Dam. Since then, the EcoPark, officially founded in 2004 as a pilot project, has undergone an extraordinary transformation, from a dusty plot of land in the northwest hills of Jordan to a tree-filled, ecologically diverse habitat covering 21.6 hectares (216 donums) of land.
The goals of the EcoPark are ambitious and varied, including: protecting the Jordan Valley and its natural habitat, increasing knowledge and interest in the environment (locally, nationally and regionally), creating healthier living options, especially for the local community, and improving visitors’ spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing.
The EcoPark allows tourists, visitors, and residents of the Jordan Valley to access the local biodiversity and native species of the region. Simultaneously, the EcoPark addresses the environmental implications to development. The numbers of visitors are continually growing, reaching over 20,000 a year. With the development of ecotourism, and more groups visiting the EcoPark to learn about nature and the environment, the Jordan Valley’s local communities benefit from the EcoPark financially by selling services and goods, including locally grown produce such as honey, fruits, olives, and homemade products such as local art. This synergy exemplifies sustainable business practices, which celebrate the rewards of continuously giving, instead of just profiting through gains that harm the environment.
In keeping with the values of the EcoPark, and for training purposes, the EcoPark utilises eco-facilities such as wooden eco-cabins, kitchens and toilets housed in recycled containers, grey water systems and water treatment. The outside areas are equipped with additional “learning stations”, each addressing aspects of the environment – water treatment and hygiene, wetland conservation, organic farming, composting and green buildings. These ecotourism facilities train and equip local residents to provide tourism services, generating job opportunities in the community and enhancing the financial sustainability of the EcoPark.
Jordan EcoPark is an environmental hub that hosts training workshops related to the environment, water, and teambuilding. It is a unique venue and landscape, providing a powerful atmosphere in which to introduce environmental conservation. Alongside educational aspects, participants and visitors of the EcoPark will enjoy leisure activities such as hiking, cycling, ziplining, and camping!