SINGAPORE: Two new recreational trails at the Clementi Nature Corridor, totalling about 9km, will be progressively ready from 2023, said the National Parks Board (NParks) on Saturday (Jul 31).
One 7km route will run along the Old Jurong Line – a disused railway track that ceased operations in the early 1990s – and includes a new park connector linked to Jurong Lake Gardens.
Another 2km trail will link the Clementi Forest Stream to a new nature park that is set to be carved out in Ulu Pandan west.
Together with existing park connectors, the new routes will form a green network with 18km of trails, said NParks.
“With this new recreational green network, the public will be able to experience nature while minimising impact to biodiversity,” said the agency.
The additions come amid Singapore’s broader goal of creating 360km of recreational routes by 2030 to create a “City in Nature”.
OLD JURONG LINE NATURE TRAIL
The Old Jurong Line Nature Trail, to be progressively completed from 2024, will run along the disused railway track that it is named after.
The history of the line dates back to the early 1960s, when it was first conceptualised to speed up the development of projects in Jurong.
It was mainly used to transport goods between Malaysia and Jurong, but gradually fell out of use over the decades as Jurong became more developed and trucks emerged as a more convenient way of transporting goods.
Transportation services along the line were discontinued in 1992, with the Jurong Railway Station demolished a year after that.
The line runs through Clementi Forest - whose humid and cool conditions provide an ideal habitat for several rare and endangered species, including two types of orchids, said NParks.
But the agency noted that more people have been going off trail in the area, impacting the orchids’ natural habitats, “resulting in a significant decline in their population”.
“With the new 4km trail, visitors can appreciate the natural and heritage elements of the Old Jurong Line, such as the old tunnels, railway track and bridges, while minimising ecological impact in the area,” it said.
This trail is also meant to form part of the 62km Coast-to-Coast Southern Trail, the longest cross-island trail to date, which will extend from Changi Beach to Tuas.
In addition, the Old Jurong Line Nature Trail will also connect to a new 3km-long Jurong Town Hall Park Connector.
“Taken together with the Old Jurong Line Nature Trail, the entire 7km recreational route will connect the Rail Corridor to Jurong Lake Gardens,” said NParks.
CLEMENTI NATURE TRAIL
A second route named the Clementi Nature Trail will connect the Rail Corridor to Ulu Pandan west, where a “sizeable” nature park will be established, as announced by the Housing and Development Board on Friday.
The trail, which is about 2km long, is due to be completed by 2023.
“From the Clementi Forest stream, members of the public can walk along the Rail Corridor to the Ulu Pandan nature park, via the new Clementi Nature Trail and the existing Ulu Pandan Park Connector,” NParks said.
“The park connector, which connects back to the Rail Corridor, will allow visitors to explore the area in a complete loop.”
A group called Friends of Clementi Corridor will be set up to partner with the community “to manage and sensitively enhance the natural habitats” along the trails of this nature corridor, NParks added.
DESIGN OF THE TRAILS
NParks’ group director Ryan Lee said establishing trails is important as it protects not just biodiversity but people too.
“Clementi Forest is currently not managed for recreation and it is actually quite risky to venture in there because the trails are not properly done, and the trees there are also not managed,” he noted.
The trails will address public safety, Mr Lee said. Although still being designed, the intention is to keep the trails minimalist and rustic to “mimic the look and feel of the environment”.
READ: IN FOCUS: From ‘devastated’ land to many long trails: Singapore’s path to becoming a hiker’s paradise
Authorities will also strengthen “existing alignments” so that this becomes the only trail in the area, he said.
“We don't intend to do anything too different from what you currently see on site. We're just going to make it a little bit wider, make it barrier-free so that young children and elderly can also experience and enjoy nature in this area.”
He also emphasised that environmental impact assessments will be launched before construction starts, given the sensitive nature of these habitats.
Additional reporting by Isabelle Lim.