New 66ha Rifle Range Nature Park has over 7km trails & wetland converted from old quarry

Looks huuuuuuuge.

Zhangxin Zheng | Gawain Pek | November 12, 2022, 03:16 AM

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The National Parks Board (NParks) opened Rifle Range Nature Park on Nov. 12, 2022.

Image by NParks.

The 66-hectare nature park was opened by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, who was hosted by Minister for National Development Desmond Lee

To mark the opening, Wong planted a Hopea sangal tree and Lee planted a Nephelium laurinum tree.

Highlights at Rifle Range Nature Park

The nature park is located to the south of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR).

Among other features, the Rifle Range Nature Park includes a freshwater wetland converted from the former Sin Seng Quarry.

Sin Seng Quarry was once one of the deepest quarries in Singapore at 55m.

Photo by Gawain Pek.

There are over 7km of earth trails and board walks of varying difficulties.

Gaharu Trail, photo by NParks.

Forest exploration trail logs, photo by NParks.

Banyan Trail, photo taken by NParks.

There are also spots for park visitors to observe animals, such as a bird hide and a Colugo Deck.

The Colugo Deck is a 31m-tall lookout point situated at the top of the quarry. Here you can get a bird's-eye view of the wetland:

Colugo deck, photo take by NParks.

View at Colugo Deck, photo taken by NParks.

Image of the bird hide, taken by NParks.

The nature park not only serves as a recreational spot for the people, but also as an ecological function for "wild residents" living in or around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Habitat enhancement efforts done prior to opening

After Sin Seng Quarry ceased operations in 1998, natural regeneration has taken place at the site where Rifle Range Nature Park occupies.

Today, more than 400 species of flora and over 300 species of fauna have been recorded at the site.

These include species that can be found in the adjacent nature serve and nearby nature parks, such as the Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus) which is a globally critically endangered species.

Prior to the opening, efforts were made to enhance the habitats. A biodiversity baseline study was carried out to identify areas and species of conservation significance. The study also guided how the nature park was subsequently designed.

Native species that will assist with forest regeneration were planted, and invasive species such as the African vines were removed.

Residents, schools and community partners contributed to such habitat enhancement efforts.

To aid tree-dwelling animals to cross Rifle Range Road safely, crossing aids such as rope bridges were added.

Image of a rope bridge, taken by NParks.

In addition, an underground culvert has been integrated beneath Rifle Range Road to provide safe passage for small terrestrial mammals, such as the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), according to NParks.

There are also colugo poles for the Malayan colugo (Galeopterus variegatus) and nest boxes for the Horsfield’s flying squirrel (Lomys horsfieldii).

Photo of Colugo poles by NParks.

The Rifle Range Nature Park is part of the Central Nature Park Network, to protect Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

As a nature park, it serves as a green buffer to protect the nature reserve against developments while enhancing ecological connectivity to the reserve's biodiversity.

Image from NParks.

World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore (WWF-Singapore) will 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 at Rifle Range Nature Park.

If you wish to visit the nature park, cross an overhead bridge that links to Beauty World Centre and Beauty World MRT station.

You can also enter the nature park via the Rail Corridor.

Rail Corridor Entrance, photo taken by NParks.

The nature park opens from 7am to 7pm daily.

As there are nocturnal animals residing in the nature park, closing the site at 7pm allows the shy wild residents to feed and move around without disturbance.

Top image via NParks' photos.