NParks opens Singapore's newest nature park, Rifle Range Nature Park, to conserve our natural heritage and provide more opportunities for nature recreation
12 Nov 2022
- 66 ha nature park is eighth nature park in Central Nature Park Network and buffers Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
- New trails, boardwalks, viewing deck and nature play features allow visitors to get closer to and connect with nature
Today, the National Parks Board (NParks) opened Rifle Range Nature Park, a 66-hectare nature park located to the south of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. It serves as a green buffer to protect the Nature Reserve from edge effects and abutting developments, while enhancing ecological connectivity and providing complementary habitats for the Nature Reserve’s biodiversity. At the same time, Rifle Range Nature Park reduces visitorship pressure on the Nature Reserve by providing the public with alternative nature-based recreation options. This includes a freshwater wetland converted from a former quarry, a viewing deck that looks out from 31 metres above the wetland, and over 7 km of trails and boardwalks – the longest out of all the nature parks in the Central Nature Park Network. The opening of Rifle Range Nature Park completes the Central Nature Park Network around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. It also completes more than 370 ha of nature parks within the network and over 30 km of walking trails within these nature parks, providing important habitats for our biodiversity and more opportunities for Singaporeans to experience nature.
Establishing networks of nature parks around our nature reserves will help to safeguard and strengthen Singapore’s core biodiversity areas while providing more nature recreation opportunities, and is part of NParks’ holistic conservation approach to protect our natural heritage and transform Singapore into a City in Nature.
The Guest-of-Honour Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr Lawrence Wong was hosted by Minister for National Development and Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration Mr Desmond Lee at the opening of the nature park. To mark the opening, Minister Lawrence Wong planted a Hopea sangal tree and Minister Desmond Lee planted a Nephelium laurinum tree.
Enhancement of Rifle Range Nature Park
Rifle Range Nature Park is located where the former Sin Seng Quarry was, which ceased operations in 1998. Since then, natural regeneration had taken place, facilitated by the abundance of native species in the adjacent Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Today, over 400 species of flora and over 300 species of fauna have been recorded within the site, including species that can be found in the adjacent Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and nature parks, such as the globally critically endangered Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus). To ensure that the park continues to act as a buffer and complementary habitat for the nature reserve along with the other parks in the Central Nature Park Network, habitat restoration and enhancements have been the key focus for Rifle Range Nature Park. To guide restoration efforts, a biodiversity baseline study was carried out to identify areas and species of conservation significance. The results of the study informed the design and planning of works to ensure that they were implemented sensitively and sustainably. As part of NParks’ Forest Restoration Action Plan, native species that will assist with forest regeneration were planted. Crossing aids such as rope bridges were also installed across Rifle Range Road to enhance ecological connectivity for tree-dwelling animals.
In addition to these enhancements, Rifle Range Nature Park is Singapore’s first net positive energy nature park, with the energy harvested from the photovoltaic solar panels installed around the nature park exceeding the expected annual operational energy consumption of the site. This push for sustainability aligns with the Singapore Green Plan 2030, a nationwide movement that charts Singapore’s sustainable development.
The park design capitalises on the existing landscape features, such as its terrain and hydrology, to bring visitors closer to nature. There is a variety of boardwalks and earth trails of varying difficulties, including barrier-free access from the Visitor Pavilion to the Quarry Wetland. The former Sin Seng Quarry has been transformed into a freshwater habitat and includes a boardwalk and bird hide for visitors to get up close to observe wetland animals. Visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the park and its surroundings from the Colugo Deck – a 31 m tall lookout point situated at the top of the quarry, one of the tallest viewing points in Singapore’s nature parks. The Forest Exploration Trail allows children to experience nature play, with elements such as stepping stumps and boulders.
Visitors can enter Rifle Range Nature Park via an overhead bridge that links to Beauty World Centre and Beauty World MRT Station, or via a flight of steps from the Rail Corridor, and take the Rambai Boardwalk to the Visitor Pavilion.
The community played a key role in the enhancement of Rifle Range Nature Park. Residents and schools in the vicinity as well as members of the nature community, such as Friends of Bukit Timah Forest, have contributed to habitat enhancement efforts such as tree planting and removal of invasive species. The park also houses a community nursery supported by HSBC Singapore through the Garden City Fund. This is part of NParks’ network of community nurseries to involve the community in the propagation and nurturing of plants that will be planted in our green spaces as part of the OneMillionTrees movement. WWF-Singapore (World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore) will conduct free monthly guided tours of Rifle Range Nature Park, and students from Nanyang Girls’ High School and CHIJ Our Lady Queen Of Peace will carry out outreach efforts on the dangers of releasing animals into the wild at Rifle Range Nature Park.
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