Chestnut Nature Park opens with separate hiking, biking trails

Located next to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, the park now has a biking trail of 1.6km and a hiking trail of 2.1km.
Angela Lim, Channel NewsAsia 3 Apr 16;

SINGAPORE: The first nature park in Singapore to have separate hiking and biking trails – to ensure greater safety for park visitors – was opened on Saturday (Apr 2).

The first phase of the Chestnut Nature Park, comprising 17 hectares in the southern portion of the park, was officially opened by Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee on Saturday morning.

Located next to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, the park now has a biking trail of 1.6km and a hiking trail of 2.1km.

When the northern portion of the park is completed, both trails will be between 5km and 6km each, bringing the total mountain biking trail in Singapore to about 30km.

At the launch on Saturday, Mr Lee flagged off cyclists and accompanied about 100 residents and volunteers on the hiking trail. He also announced a new Friends of the Park scheme.

"I remember meeting many participants who expressed a desire to volunteer their time or play an active role to shape and manage our green spaces,” he said. “This scheme will bring together a variety of stakeholders to tap on their diverse expertise and ideas, and better structure our community of park users and NParks volunteers to make their efforts more fruitful.”

Mr Lee also encouraged all Singaporeans to join in promoting active and responsible use of the parks.

All 81 hectares of the Chestnut Nature Park will be open to the public when the second phase is completed by the end of the year.

- CNA/cy

Thrills on wheels at new nature park
Calvin Yang, The Straits Times AsiaOne 3 Apr 16;

Ascending steep slopes, navigating tricky obstacles, and tackling narrow tracks - these are several of the challenges cycling enthusiasts can take on at a new 1.6km mountain biking trail.

The trail is part of the 17ha Chestnut Nature Park (South), which also has a 2.1km hiking trail.

The park, next to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, was opened by the National Parks Board (NParks) yesterday. It is the first here with both trails for mountain bikes and hikers.

When the 64ha Chestnut Nature Park (North) is completed by the end of this year, it will boast a total of 5km of hiking trails and 6km of biking ones.

From the middle of this year, park users can also look forward to a kiosk where they can rent bicycles.

Yesterday, NParks also launched the Friends of the Parks scheme to encourage greater community stewardship of green spaces.

Selected parks under the scheme will each be headed by a community of up to 10 members from various interest groups, such as hikers, bikers and researchers.

They will play a role in promoting responsible use of the parks through ground-led initiatives.

Chestnut Nature Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and the Park Connector Network will be the first to get such a group. The existing Friends of Ubin Network for Pulau Ubin will also come under the scheme, but will continue operating without any changes.

Said Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee, who attended the opening yesterday: "The community may propose and organise meaningful activities that they would like to carry out... and suggest ideas, such as conservation, recreation and horticultural projects."

More than 100 mountain bikers yesterday tried the moderately challenging trail at the park for the first time, and many were pleased with the experience.

Avid cyclist Jonathan Wong, a 32-year-old sales manager, said it is a good training ground for beginners who are trying to grasp basic bike-handling techniques.

"It is made for riders of all abilities," he said. "Bikers can ride closer to nature and get a good workout in the process."

A group of mountain bikers tested the trail a few weeks ago. Based on their input, tweaks were made to improve safety while keeping the trail challenging.

The northern portion of the nature park includes a supposedly tougher biking trail.

Last year, NParks closed the popular Butterfly Trailas parts of it fell within the construction site of the nature park.

Mr Wong Tuan Wah, NParks' director of conservation, said the trail is currently undergoing biodiversity assessments and restorative works.

"We have to wait until these studies have been completed before we can formulate any plans," he added.

NParks opens Chestnut Nature Park (South)
Nparks media release 2 Apr 16;

Launch of Friends of the Parks scheme to provide greater opportunities
for community stewardship of green spaces

Singapore, 2 April 2016 — The National Parks Board (NParks) launched the first phase of Chestnut Nature Park today. About 17 hectares in size (26 football fields), Chestnut Nature Park (South) extends the buffer for the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and improves the ecological network for biodiversity. Chestnut Nature Park (South) is Singapore’s first nature park with separate mountain biking and hiking trails, measuring 1.6km and 2.1km respectively.

Friends of the Parks Community
NParks also launched the Friends of the Parks community to encourage greater community stewardship of green spaces. This community was conceptualised after participants at the SGfuture dialogue sessions in Jan 2016 expressed strong support for the idea that park users should play a bigger part in designing, stewarding and programming our parks and green spaces. Consisting of local communities of regular park users and stakeholders, Friends of the Park members will play an active role in promoting active and responsible use of our parks through ground-led programmes and initiatives.

The community builds on the success of the Friends of Ubin Network (FUN). FUN members come from a wide spectrum of the community, including nature enthusiasts, architects, historians, students, educators, bloggers, Pulau Ubin residents, educators, and representatives of heritage and recreation groups. FUN members have contributed many useful ideas and implemented ground-led initiatives at Ubin.

The community will start with Chestnut Nature Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and the Park Connector Network. For Pulau Ubin, the existing Friends of Ubin Network will also come under the Friends of the Parks community but will continue operating without any further changes. This will be gradually extended to more parks to encourage community stewardship. More details of the Friends of the Parks scheme can be found in Media Factsheet A.

Joining in the event was Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development, Desmond Lee, who planted the Braided Chestnut tree (Castanopsis inermis) to mark the occasion. He said, “The concept of the Friends of the Parks community was first mooted at the SGfuture dialogues in January this year. I remember meeting many participants who expressed a desire to volunteer their time or play an active role to shape and manage our green spaces. The community will bring together a variety of stakeholders to tap on their diverse expertise and ideas, and better structure our community of regular park users and NParks volunteers to make their efforts more fruitful.”

Community Involvement
The community’s inputs were actively sought in the development of Chestnut Nature Park. Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Mayor of North West District Teo Ho Pin, as well as Members of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Liang Eng Hwa, held an exhibition in 2014 where public feedback on Chestnut Nature Park was gathered. Suggestions such as shelters, mapboards as well as hiking and biking trails were all implemented.

Amenities and activities at Chestnut Nature Park (South)
As a shared community space for different users, visitors to Chestnut Nature Park (South) can look forward to a range of recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking and bird watching. Bird lovers will be able to spot globally threatened species such as the Straw-headed Bulbul, globally vulnerable species such as the Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, as well as species such as the Banded Woodpecker, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker and Little Spiderhunter. Chestnut Nature Park (South) is also home to animals such as the Spiny Hill Terrapin and the Cinnamon Bush Frog.

The biking trails at Chestnut Nature Park (South) are classified as moderately difficult to extremely difficult. There are also shelters with informative map boards. From mid-2016 onwards, park users can look forward to a kiosk where they can rent and wash bikes as well as buy pre-packaged snacks. When the 64ha Chestnut Nature Park (North) is completed in late 2016, there will be a total of 5km of hiking trails and 6km of biking trails. More details of the things to do at Chestnut Nature Park (South) can be found in Media Factsheet B.

Enhancing habitats
As part of the ongoing habitat enhancement programme to augment NParks’ biodiversity conservation efforts. Chestnut Nature Park has been planted up with native tree species. Examples of these native tree species are the Braided Chestnut (Castanopsis inermis), Singapore Walking-Stick Palm (Rhopaloblaste singaporensis) and the Jelutong (Dyera costulata). These native tree species will allow animals to thrive by improving the ecological connectivity between green spaces so that animals may move around safely. Details on the flora and fauna in Chestnut Nature Park (South) can be found in Media Factsheet B.

No comments:

Post a Comment