Monday, April 15, 2013

Ingenuity or lack of funds?

I hosted some overseas friends last week, and since I live close to the Tree Top Walk. They opted to take a walk to the HSBC Tree Top Walk.
The Venus Road path leading to the Tree Top Walk was rustic enough and I knew enough of the history, ecosystem and biodiversity to keep them occupied.
However, they were very observant and had one question, which I had no answer to - why was the route so poorly maintained compared to Ang Mo Kio/Bishan Park? 
Path leading down to Kallang River
Trail leading to Tree Top Walk: wood stumps at the start

About 8 meters in
even more stumps further inside


budak said...

i don't think it's poorly maintained. it's a forest trail not a park connector or footway. sprucing it up or trying to pave it would likely affect the linkages between the woods and the streams which the paths cut between.

Shirls said...

They were placed there because people complained of ponding n soggy ground. I thought they were unique but the number of stumps have grown. Most avoid them and they can trip people who aren't familiar with the path.

Pat said...

From post: "why was the [path leading to the Tree Top Walk] so poorly maintained compared to Ang Mo Kio/Bishan Park?"

Where parks & reserves management is concerned, there are different levels of maintenance standards & priorities.

1st-tier urban locations & facilities with high visibility/ prominence, as well as heavy user traffic (or more vulnerable users like kids & the elderly) are accorded more regular & more intensive/ intrusive types of maintenance.

3rd & 4th-tier locations such as rural minor roads, forest trails & undeveloped sites within urban parks are accorded lesser priority & less severe intervention than 1st-tier locations (eg. Istana Park, Orchard Rd streetscape, popular playgrounds) or 2nd-tier locations (eg. AMK-Bishan Park, Pasir Ris Park).

Even within a 3rd/4th-tier location itself, there exist different levels of maintenance depending on certain criteria (eg. nature of site, aesthetics, user traffic, etc.) Using BTNR as an example, a prominent node like the visitor centre & its periphery landscape are more intensively maintained than the relatively less-utilized forest trails within the nature reserve. For similar reasons, boardwalks & footpaths made from tree-trunk rounds aren't provided everywhere within the nature reserve, even when the terrain allows it.

For the case of the soggy/eroded forest trail leading to the HSBC Treetop Walk, it appears that tree-trunk rounds (recycled from fallen trees) are deliberately used as a rustic alternative to more intrusive-looking (& more costly) concrete paths or even timber boardwalks.

However, if you find that the installed tree-trunk rounds are actual hazards to the majority of visitors at the said site, you could consider providing your feedback to NParks. For instance, an upgrade could be to lay closely-packed wood logs along their lengths on the ground, so as to create a more even but still quite naturalistic-looking footpath along the forest trail.

Shirls said...

Hi Pat,

Thank you for the information, I did not know that there were different maintenance standards.