The Umstead Coalition
Dedicated to the appreciation, use, and preservation of the William B. Umstead State Park and the Richland Creek natural area

RDU Forest

Call to Action!  Help Umstead State Park from Bad Airport Ideas

The RDU Airport is proposing to allow a new quarry next to our Park (between Old Reedy Creek Road and Crabtree Creak), as well as build office buildings and parking lots on what is now Lake Crabtree County Park and along the boundary of William B. Umstead State Park.  A tragic loss of single-track bike and pedestrian trails!

WE are offering a superior community vision that will assist the airport with revenue streams and enhance this corridor with a “RDU Forested Trail Center.”  (and, YES, the FAA allows this use on airport property). And, yes, it would entail revenue streams for the airport via leases to brewery, bike rental, outdoor retail, conference/meeting space, hotel, parking, cafĂ©, perhaps zip line, and more!

Background and overview of concepts:

Our Solution:

RDU Forest-May17 2017.pdf

More information and what you can do to help:


Economics DO support the RDU Forest Trail Center Concept:

Rex Schaberg economic analysis of quarry vs Forest Trail Center, ppt 2016_9_29 2-up for public.pdf

Rex Schaberg letter to Landguth, RDU President 9-15-16.pdf

Public value to Forested Recreational areas:

Schabert et al., 1999. Ascribing value to ecological processes: an economic view of environmental change. Forest Ecology and Management. 114:329-338. (click here for pdf)

 More:  Federal Guidelines and Land Deeds/agreements for airport lands at Lake Crabtree County Park and along Old Reedy Creek Park Road: 

1st-Fed regs and legislature that forms RDU Airport Authorith from Packet from RDU Attorney 9-16-16 with ORC.pdf

2nd-Deeds from land sales along Old Reedy Creek Rd from Packet from RDU Attorney 9-16-16 ORC-2.pdf

3rd-Wake County Crabtree Lake and County Park agreements from Packet from RDU Attorney 9-16-16 with ORC-3.pdf


FAA EIS desk-ref.pdf 


Big THANKS to the many good folks who attended the special The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority (RDU-AA) Board meeting in October 2018, where we heard the visionary proposals for the RDU Forest from Wake County and The Conservation Fund. We also heard the short-sighted quarry proposal that would destroy our public lands with very weak arguments about the future 'life' (e.g., liability) of such a blemish on our landscape.

 The large public turnout was extremely important -- continues to send a loud message from the public -- great job!!

While the RDU-AA attorney tried to relay the problems with selling the Odd Fellows tract to The Conservation Fund (because somehow that would cause an 'encroachment on the airport')  I think we heard several ways in which a land sale IS allowed.

For more information: we sent the following to the RDU-AA October 11, 2017:

Cover Letter to Chairman Farad Ali stating our continue desire for a collaborative solution that would benefit both RDU and the forested trails/greenway assets, plus some insights regarding FAA regulations:

RDU Forest Opportunity Letter to Farad Ali, RDU-AA 10-11-17.pdf

Odd Fellows Tract - Sale for Conservation, Attachment 1 19-11-17.pdf

FAA letter to William Doucette September 11 2017.pdf


We are extremely pleased to report that the Wake County Commissioners unanimously passed:

A Resolution supporting The Conservation Fund offer to purchase the Odd Fellows tract and to move forward on Wake County's interest in leasing the 2 adjacent tracts along Old Reedy Creek Road from the RDU Airport.


RDU Airport – PLEASE help STOP A QUARRY and help us move our solution forward

First, a huge thank you to all the supporters and advocates who are helping to save the recreational trails next to Umstead State Park, the trails on the land off of Old Reedy Creek Road and and the trails on Lake Crabtree County Park.  You may have heard that the RDU Airport Authority STAFF (but NOT the Board members) recently declined to accept The Conservation Fund offer to purchase the Odd Fellows tract (“Rocky Road”) for Umstead State Park, the tract that has been proposed for a controversial rock quarry!!  But, we still have a good chance! The RDU Airport Authority staff have issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to lease 3 parcels of land, including the Odd Fellows Tract.

We support Wake County’s efforts to submit a proposal to lease lands for forested trails. The RFP timeframe is very short, however, and community input will reinforce efforts to secure ALL three lands for trails!

Here are more details on the Solution we are advocating: The Solution.pdf

YOU HELP IS NEEDED NOW to communicate the value of preserving these tracts for recreation and natural resource protection. Please write your local representatives (city, county, state) and and ask them to pass a resolution supporting following:
  • The RDU Airport Authority should accept The Conservation Fund offer to purchase the Odd Fellows tract (RFP Parcel 1, Solution Tract B).  The offer is Fair Market value and the FAA has confirmed in writing that the airport CAN sell this land for a park.
  • The RDU Airport Authority should accept an offer by Wake County to lease lands for recreational trail use (RFP Parcel 1&2; Solution Tract B) .
  • The community strongly OPPOSES a new industrial quarry on the Odd Fellows tract.  This quarry would destroy amazingly stunning and environmentally sensitive lands lands adjacent to Umstead State Park and Crabtree Creek


How to find your NC legislators:


The RDU-Airport Authority STAFF has rejected the Conservation Fund offer (not the Board members).  And the STAFF have issued an RFP that appears to be geared for a  controversial new QUARRY pit !!  They made this decision behind closed doors with no public meeting or input.

RDU announcement:

RFP just release by the RDU Airport:

The Conservation Fund made an offer to Buy Land from RDU Airport for Umstead State Park!

An exciting, vibrant future has been proposed for a tract of non-aviation land currently owned by RDU airport. The Conservation Fund submitted a fair market offer of nearly $6.5 million to the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority to purchase a 105.46 acre parcel, known locally as the “Oddfellows” tract. The parcel of land sits between Wake County’s Lake Crabtree County Park and William B. Umstead State Park, and encompasses many miles of hiking and biking trails that are beloved by the community. The land would be preserved as an expansion of Umstead State Park, extending recreational trails and protecting a critical nexus of greenway connectivity in the Triangle Region.

The proposed purchase is a welcome alternative to a plan under consideration by RDU to lease the land for the construction of a new quarry. Construction of a new quarry would destroy the land and trails forever, while providing RDU only a modest short-term profit. The quarry plan has fervent community opposition, with close to 7,500 supporters signing a petition that opposes a new quarry and urges RDU to preserve the land as a forested recreational space.

 The Conservation Fund’s proposal to purchase the land for Umstead State Park is an opportunity for RDU to collaborate with the community to protect valued recreational land, while realizing revenue from land that is not needed for aviation use. The Conservation Fund and its partners are prepared to raise public and private funds to finance the purchase, and the Fund proposes to close the purchase on August 31, 2018. 

The offer letter: TCF_RDU_Offer_7-10-17.pdf

Please ask the RDU Airport to accept this offer:

Write N&O Letter to Editor:
The Umstead Coalition is dedicated to the appreciation, use, and preservation of the William B. Umstead State Park and the Richland Creek Natural Area.
The Umstead Coalition, PO Box 10654, Raleigh, NC  27605 (919) 852-2268   
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