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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 9 December 2003

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New observation tower opens at MacRitchie Reservoir

Source: Channel Newsasia

To enhance the recreational experience and appreciation of nature for visitors, a seven-storey observation tower has been constructed at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (MacRitchie).

Named after a common forest tree, the Jelutong Tower allows visitors to have a bird’s eye-view of the varied terrain of MacRitchie and the skyline beyond the reservoir park.

“The Jelutong Tower acts as a reference landmark and rest point for visitors to the nature reserve. It offers a glimpse of our precious remaining rainforests from a high vantage point and reminds us about the conservation of our natural heritage. For the first time, visitors to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve will be able to watch birds and observe wildlife in a rainforest environment with ease. The informative signages that will be put up also serve to educate visitors on the habitats they are observing.” said Ms Sharon Chan, Assistant Director, Central Nature Reserve.

Visitors will now be able to observe the different layers of vegetation and canopy of the forest. Each level of the tower presents a different perspective of the trees and their inhabitants.

At mid-level, visitors will be able to see epiphytes (plants which depends on the tree for support) such as ferns, orchids and other climbers. When the trees flower and fruit, they attract a myriad of pollinators such as butterflies, carpenter bees and birds.

From the highest level, besides the tree canopy of the forest, visitors will also be able to get a good view of the surrounding forest and part of the MacRitchie reservoir.

The Jelutong Tower is one of the new facilities to enhance the recreational and educational experience for visitors. To minimise impact on the flora and fauna of the reserve, such recreational and educational facilities are implemented at the fringe of core conservation areas. For example, the tower is built at a clearing where NSmen used to gather during training exercises. No trees were felled in the construction of the tower.

There are three access routes to the tower – the Golf Link, Sime Track and the Rifle Range Link.

Source: National Parks Board Media Release 8 Dec 2003

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Public Holidays CHRISTMAS DAY is the next public holiday. It falls on 25 December 2003.