Rifle Range Nature Park opens; to enhance ecological connectivity, provide new wildlife habitats
The new Rifle Range Nature Park by National Parks Board (NParks) was officially launched on Saturday (Nov 12) by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong and Minister for National Development and Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee.
To mark the opening, Mr Lawrence Wong planted a Hopea sangal tree and Mr Desmond Lee planted a Nephelium laurinum tree.
The 66ha nature park, located to the south of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, is the eighth nature park in the Central Nature Park Network. It completes the network around the area.
Rifle Range Nature Park is also Singapore’s first net positive energy nature park, which is in line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
The park’s opening also completes more than 370ha of nature parks within the network and over 30km of walking trails located within these nature parks.
This is part of NParks efforts to provide Singapore’s biodiversity with important habitats and also expose Singaporeans to more opportunities for them to understand and appreciate nature.
As the newest nature park, NParks also aims for it to serve as a green buffer to protect the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve from edge effects and abutting developments.
By fulfilling its function as a green buffer, the park will also enhance ecological connectivity and provide complementary habitats for the existing biodiversity in the nature reserve.
The Rifle Range Nature Park will also serve as an alternative nature-based recreation option to members of the public. NParks said that this should reduce visitorship pressure on the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
Rifle Range Nature Park is located where the former Sin Seng Quarry was. Since the closing of the quarry in 1998, natural regeneration took place resulting in over 400 species of flora and over 300 species of fauna, including species that can be found in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and nature parks.
Visitors can expect a variety of boardwalks and earth trails consisting of varying difficulties. There would also be barrier-free access from the Visitor Pavilion to the Quarry Wetland.
The site of the former Sin Seng Quarry has also been transformed into a freshwater habitat and includes a boardwalk and bird hide. Here, visitors can get up close to observe wetland animals.
Those who would like to get a bird’s eye view of the nature park can do so by walking to the Colugo Deck. The Colugo Deck is a 31m lookout point situated at the top of the quarry and is one of the tallest viewing points among Singapore’s nature parks.
The new nature park caters to young children as well. The Forest Exploration Trail allows children to experience nature and play with elements from nature.
Visitors can expect the World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore (WWF-Singapore) to conduct free monthly guided tours of Rifle Range Nature Park.
Students from Nanyang Girls’ High School and CHIJ Our Lady Queen Of Peace will also carry out outreach efforts on the dangers of releasing animals into the wild.
The park can be accessed via an overhead bridge that links to Beauty World Centre and Beauty World MRT Station. Park goers can also take a flight of steps from the Rail Corridor to access the Rambai Boardwalk to the Visitor Pavilion.