Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to close for restoration

SINGAPORE — With forest damage and soil erosion from rainfall and thousands of hikers trampling over its trails and slopes over the years, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve will be closed for about two years from Sept 15 so that the National Parks Board (NParks) can carry out restoration work.

SINGAPORE — With forest damage and soil erosion from rainfall and thousands of hikers trampling over its trails and slopes over the years, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve will be closed for about two years from Sept 15 so that the National Parks Board (NParks) can carry out restoration work.

It will reopen to the public the Main Road that leads to the summit on weekends in March next year, but the rest of the reserve will remain closed for another one-and-a-half years.

Announcing the move yesterday, NParks said it had started tracking the reserve’s slopes about three to four years ago after noticing some land was slipping on the slopes, and found that there was damage to forests and erosion of slopes and trails.

Apart from heavy rains, the boom in visitorship over the years had exacted its toll on the grounds — NParks said it estimated that the number of visitors to the 163ha reserve grew from 80,000 in 1992 to 400,000 last year.

When visitors stray from the trails, they trample undergrowth, which results in tree roots being exposed, making them a danger to hikers. At the same time, forest regeneration has been hindered, which affects the reserve’s ecosystem. Already, birdwatchers have observed that the Asian-Fairy Bluebird and Chestnut-bellied Malkoha have retreated away from the more heavily-used trails, NParks said.

“While there is no immediate danger, restoration work has to be done to prevent further degradation or major landslides,” said Dr Leong Chee Chiew, NParks deputy chief executive officer at a media briefing yesterday.

Mr Joseph Koh, chairman of the Nature Reserves Scientific Advisory Committee, added: “The reserve is particularly vulnerable because it is small and almost isolated, and may not have the resilience of a large forest to recover itself from the stress of excessive physical degradation.”

About half of the reserve’s 9km of trails will be repaired. NParks will also build a 1.3km-long raised boardwalk at Dairy Farm Loop and Summit Path for visitors to take in the repaired trails without trampling on the forest floor.

Sections of three slopes will be stabilised using micro piles, to be installed along the tarmac road to minimise impact on the forest.

NParks will also upgrade the reserve’s visitor centre, which is more than 20 years old, revamping its exhibition hall and function rooms. A toilet block to house additional washroom facilities will be added.

Mr Zulfadhli Amir, who cycles frequently at the reserve, said the 6km-long Mountain Bike Trail had just been repaired and he approved of NParks’ decision to perform similar repair works on the rest of the reserve.

“I love nature and we should preserve and improve it for the community, be it (for) hiking or mountain biking. It’s the best escape from our concrete forest,” said the 21-year-old full-time National Serviceman.

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa