The Department of Sciences at the Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences (FNAS), Notre Dame University-Louaize North Lebanon Campus (NDU-NLC), organized on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, a lecture titled, “Discover the Lebanese Environment through the Lebanon Mountain Trail,” presented by Nadine Weber, former president of the Lebanese Mountain Trail Association(LMTA).
The LMTA is the first long distance hiking trail in Lebanon. The 470-kilometer path crosses 75 towns and villages from Andqet in Akkar, North Lebanon, to Marjaayoun, in South Lebanon, at altitudes ranging between 600 and 2,000 meters above sea level. The trail transects one UNESCO Heritage Site (Qadisha Valley), three nature reserves (Horsh Ehden, Tannourine Cedars, and Al-Shouf Cedars), one biosphere reserve, and several protected and important bird areas (Himas).
Since 2007, the LMTA has been working hard to promote and advocate for sustainable rural tourism and heritage conservation that benefit local communities. The LMTA programs are diverse and include several community development, educational, and trail development and maintenance activities.
The LMT is a celebration of the wealth of Lebanon’s mountains that is more than ever before in grave danger due to environmental abuse and the public domain and the irrational exploitation of rural lands.
Each year, the Thru-Walk, a 30-day hiking journey organized by the LMTA in April, highlights an important cause. Last April, 230 hikers from 20 different nationalities, with many that flew to Lebanon to participate, walked to send a message: protect our mountains!
The objective of this event is to promote the LMTA and Lebanon as a world-class travel destination and consolidate support for the trail’s long-term protection. This unique annual event will always:
- Remind the Lebanese people of the need to protect their heritage;
- Support rural economies in trailside communities; and
- Promote responsible tourism as a viable economic activity.
The LMTA is not only about hiking but also about experiencing nature, culture, agriculture, and local food and connecting visitors with mountain residents. Visitors are assisted by local guides and eat and sleep in guesthouses and small accommodations run by local families.