Leave nature trail alone

Leave nature trail alone
Mr Larry Quah (bottom right) on a segment of a trail at MacRitchie Reservoir, where cookies are cemented onto the ground, and where he fell (left). Regular runners suggest that those who find the trail too tough can opt for safer routes such as the boardwalk (top right) near the Lornie Trail.

A letter proposing to make a nature trail safer has riled some users of MacRitchie Reservoir, and the retiree who made the suggestion has now found himself the target of online abuse.

Mr Larry Quah, 65, wrote to The Straits Times Forum recently after taking a nasty tumble while brisk-walking along a trail near the reservoir's Tree- Top Walk in July. An edited version of the letter, which proposed removing protruding stones and tree roots along the stretch, was published on The Straits Times website last Saturday. It quickly went viral.

It has been shared more than 18,000 times on Facebook and has drawn more than 100 comments, mostly from dissenters slamming his suggestion.

Many of the online comments, directed at Mr Quah, told him to seek alternative places to exercise and to leave the nature trail alone.

Online user Leon Lim posted on the ST website: "Apparently the MacRitchie nature trail is too adventurous for you to handle. Don't change it because you cannot. Try treadmill instead."

The National Parks Board has since replied to say that while it carries out regular maintenance works, it is not possible to clear all the rocks and branches.

Regular visitors to the reservoir also say the nature trail is safe and should be left untouched.

When SundayLife! met Mr Quah at MacRitchie Reservoir last Wednesday, the father of two expressed dismay over how his words have been taken out of context.

"I've been running at the reservoir since I was 16. I've had my fair share of tumbles here and I've never complained," he said. "I'm not asking for all the rocks in the entire reservoir trail to be removed."

What he wants is for a specific 100m stretch of the nature trail - a steep downhill slope which runs parallel to a service road at the neighbouring Singapore Island Country Club that leads to the TreeTop Walk - to be made safer.

It was there that he lost his balance and fell after his foot struck a stone. He fractured his left collarbone, cracked two ribs and suffered multiple lacerations on his body. He said it took five weeks for his fractures to heal.

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