The banks of the stream are green all year long.
Nahal Kana is one of the largest streams in Shomron, and along with Nahal Shiloh is one of the main tributaries of the Yarkon River. The upper sources of Nahal Kana drain Michmetat Valley and the southern part of Shomron basin below Mt. Gerizim.
The deep valley was chosen as an important natural border back in biblical times – between the tribal lands of Ephraim and Menashe – “And the border descended to Nahal Kana, southward of the stream (wadi in Arabic); these cities were Ephraim’s, situated among the cities of Menashe. The boundary of Menashe also was on the north side of the stream; and its terminations were at the sea” (Joshua 17:9). The ancient Hebrew name of this stream is preserved in the Arabic name to this day – wadi Kana. Thus it is the only stream in Israel whose name has remained without any changes from biblical times until today.
The stream wends most of its way through the Shomron mountains, meandering around and cutting into the hard limestone rock. Water gurgles upward from small springs (En in Arabic) all year long, all along the streambed (En al-Nawitar, En el-Makudiya, En al-Jusa, En Hawara, En al-Betsa, En Hawar and En Tanur).
The water flows along the streambed and alternately disappears under layers of gravel and silt or collects in small, deep pools, even in the summer.
Large tracts of the Nahal Kana reserve have been protected forests since British Mandate days (Makudiya forest), and the dense groves of trees and shrubs can be difficult to walk through, as they have remained untrimmed for decades.
Lush vegetation grows along the steep banks of the riverbed, with abundant water plants and Mediterranean shrubbery, common oak and Israeli pistacia, although these trees are gradually being replaced by park trees such as common carob and mastic (pistacia lentiscus).
Many animals live in the forest, and you might see flocks of gazelles, wild boars and common foxes. Recently martens, a rare rodent in these parts, have also been spotted. Birds of prey such as the rare Bonelli’sי eagle and circaetus hawk nest in the trees.
Near the springs along the riverbed are the ruins of ancient villages and fortresses, as well as cultivated fields and orchards.
Until not long ago Nahal Kana was very polluted, as the sewage from nearby villages was untreated. Recently, however, following rehabilitation and waste water purification project, the water is clear and clean again.
Unique geological and geomorphological phenomena also make this nature reserve special.
Written by: Netanel Ellinson