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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Patching Up MacRitchie Reservoir

Sometime ago, a fella fell while running at MacRitchie Reservoir. Subsequently, he wrote a letter of complaint to the press asking for the rocks and roots to be removed to make it safer for runners. Read about his complaint here. Of course, he got a whole lot of ridicule from the public and a lot of indignant trail runners. Then Nparks came out with a reply which got everybody cheering. So everybody thought that was the end of the silly complaint. Or is it?

This is one part of the trail in MacRitchie Reservoir now. Gone is the dirt track and in its place a nice silvery grey layer of granite chips.
Picture by Kelly Lim
Apparently, Nparks has decided to do something and this section of the trail has been paved over with crushers. I don't know whether it is in response to the complaint or what but trail runners are pretty upset. But I suppose for other regular park users who just want a nice place to walk, this is definitely an improvement over the previous wild tangle of roots and rocks and uneven ground.

I have mixed feeling about this. On the one hand, I must admit that I do not like the particular section parallel to the SICC leading to Lornie Road. It is uneven, full of rocks and roots and I never ever run this section for fear of falling and injuring myself. So having all this even out, will allow me to run this section. But on the other hand, I hate to see nature being replace by man made things. The trails in the reserves should be left as it is. We do not need nice walking path. If we want them, we could always go to Sengkang Riverside Park, Admiralty Park or even the Pasir Ris Park. 

But having said that, MacRitchie Reservoir is in a rather unique position. It caters not only to trail runners but many many other visitors most of whom are there just for fresh air or some light exercise. So the tracks have to cater to a wide segment of visitors and I suppose this is a good compromise. After all, its not like this is the first time Nparks have done something to improve the trails there. I am sure everybody who runs to Rifle Range Road from MacRitchie appreciates the concrete steps that were created next to the stream. Prior to that, there was a big mound which could become muddy and slippery when wet. Several of the more muddy sections have also been filled in with rocks and stumps and even the section immediately after the Ranger Station; that was also filled in with crushers after the track was reopened after the landslide.

Hopefully, these will be all that Nparks will do to the trails. What I could hate to see will be those tiles which Nparks loves to lay in the parks and then call it a "trail". 

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