SINGAPORE: The first curated trail at St John's Island was officially launched on Saturday (Sep 2), along with free guided tours led by trained volunteers.
The 2.8km trail, which starts at the entrance of the main jetty, has 15 stations marked out with signboards. Visitors will see coastal forests and coral reefs, and may spot birds such as the great-billed heron, reptiles such as the gold-ringed cat snake and the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, according to the National Parks Board (NParks), which is organising the tours.
During low tide, visitors can walk along the intertidal flat at the lagoon and look out for sea stars, sea cucumbers, crabs and marine snails. The trail also brings visitors to the Marine Park Outreach and Education Centre, where visitors can learn about local marine life.
The free guided tour will cover 1.6km and take visitors to 14 stations on the trail. It takes around 90 minutes to complete, and up to 45 people can take part in each tour. A map is available on NParks' website for those who want to explore the trail on their own.
The tours will take place on the first weekend of every month starting in October. Registration begins this Sunday at 2pm via the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park website.
“The centre of gravity of our conservation approach cannot be to keep people away from nature,” said Mr Desmond Lee, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and National Development, at the event.
“Instead, we want to instill a sense of wonder and appreciation among Singaporeans for our blue and green areas.”
SISTERS' ISLAND MARINE PARK PUBLIC GALLERY EXPANDED
New exhibits were also launched on Saturday at the Sisters’ Island Marine Park Public Gallery on St John’s Island.
The new exhibits include live specimens in a viewing pool, a mangrove mesocosm to study ecosystem behaviours, as well as a virtual reality experience for an immersive "dive" tour around the marine park.
The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park Public Gallery first opened in 2015, while the marine park was designated in 2014. The marine park spans 40 hectares, encompassing Sisters' Islands, the western reefs of St John's Island and Pulau Tekukor.
The region was chosen for its rich biodiversity and conservation efforts aim to enhance the marine habitat there, NParks said.
More features are expected to be added in the next two years, such as a boardwalk on Big Sisters' Island, intertidal pools as well as a floating pontoon.
Regular ferry services to St John’s Island departing from Marina South Pier are available twice a day on weekdays and up to five times a day on weekends and public holidays.