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Forested recreation in the heart of the Triangle 

RDU Fence

Great news! The Raleigh Durham Airport Authority (RDUAA) removed funding for an 8’ tall security fence (known as RDU Fence) on the border of the Odd Fellows Tract and Umstead State Park. We think this is due to the massive public outcry and opposition to the fence.


RDU plans to build an 8' chain link fence, topped with 3 rows of barbed wire fence along their border with Umstead State Park to also encircle/isolate each of the Odd Fellows and 286 Tracts. 

There will be 15' of clearing on each side of the fence and it will be 8.3 miles long!  (wait!  RDUAA now say they plan 18.1 miles!)

The fence will have vast negative impacts on visitors to Umstead State Park, our water quality, wildlife corridors and more. Read why we don't need the RDU Fence.

NC State Park's January 25, 2021 letter listing: Reedy Creek Trail being cut-off; harm to the fundamental Park purposes; damage to stream buffers, wetlands, water quality; adverse effect on Park's National Register of Historic Places; and invasive species.

NC State Park's  January 15, 2020 letter listing severe issues and offering to purchase the "286 tract."

Sierra Club Capital Group January 1, 2021 letter asking for the Neuse Buffer Authorization for the proposed fence to be denied due to degradation of stream buffers, water quality, and habitat; severing the popular William B. Umstead State Park Reedy Creek Trail and disruption of the East Coast Greenway and the US1 Bike route; and impact the Eastern Wildway  wildlife corridor that connects William B. Umstead State Park to Quebec and the Everglades.

The Umstead Coalition December 4, 2020 and January 20, 2021  and April 8, 2020 asking for denial of the Neuse Buffer Authorization for all the reasons stated above, as well as RDUAA's failure to comply with the Neuse Buffer Rules (the law) that requires AVOIDANCE and MINIMIZATION to preserve aquatic life and habitat and protect water quality be employed.  And, concurred with DEQ's original denial of this request.

Status:  DEQ-Division of Water Resources issued Neuse Buffer Authorization (aka environmental permit) on May 5, 2021. This does NOT mean there are no server environmental problems, but they receive approval to make some environmental damages.  Good news:  fence is not in RDUAA approved budget, and not been approved by the RDUAA Board. 



Instead of a fence, the Umstead Coalition and Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC) propose to create a trail center which would benefit both RDU and visitors to Umstead State Park.

Our vision for a trail center preserves the natural beauty of this recreational district, preserves the wildlife and ecological corridor, saves the RDU Aiport Authority money and staff time and provides much needed forested recreation along a central and well-connected greenway hub. 



On Thursday, January 16, 2020, NC State Parks gave an offer to RDUAA to buy Tract 286 and add it to Umstead State Park. RDUAA did not accept their offer. NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Chief Deputy Secretary D. Reid Wilson said in the letter:

"However, a fence as proposed presents multiple problems for the park and its users: 

  • The proposed fence would bisect the park's popular "Reedy Creek Multi-Use Trail in two places; the trail is used by tens of thousands hikers, cyclists and equestrians every year, and it would be far too expensive for the park to move the trail;
  • By creating a permanent eyesore and marring the look and "feel" of the park, the proposed park would greatly harm a fundamental purpose of the park, namely to provide public access to a natural setting for people to enjoy nature and improve their physical and mental health; 
  • The degradation of the visitor experience would likely create among trail users a negative impression of the airport; 
  • Because the proposed fence would cross four large streams, 19 small streams, and 29 temporary streams or ditches, it would damage stream banks, wetlands, and water quality downstream in Umstead Park;
  • The proposed fence would block movements of wildlife, effectively trapping them between airport fences;
  • The proposed fence may constitute an adverse effect to the park's status on the National Register of Historic Places, which could trigger review and requirements under federal or state law"

History of Umstead State Park's Reedy Creek Trail

Umstead State Park's Reedy Creek trail has been a Park trail since the Park's establishment in 1934 - way before there was an RDU Airport and way before any commercial planes ever flew out of RDU. The location of this trail has not changed. And, this land was inside our Park until 1958.

What did change was a forced exchange of land in 1958 to allow for a safety zone for a runway (currently the short General Aviation runway) built too close to the Park by the US Government for WWII. Apparently, the surveyor used a survey stake on the inside bend of the Park trail (and even noted such on the Deeds).

The trail location was well established in 1934 and has been used and maintained in the same location as a State Park trail continuously for the last 85 years. Before this, it was the Old Middle Hillsboro and Reedy Creeks in the same location for 200 years prior.  The Old Middle Hillsboro Road was the road to Durham and Hillsborough.

William B. Umstead State Park, including its forests, is listed under the National Register of Historic Places.

In stark contrast, the Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport touts its BWI Marshall Airport Hiker-Biker trail (a 12.5 mile trail around the entire airport) as a great airport and community asset.


See the most commonly asked questions about RDU Fence here. Read now>>


Stay up-to-date with the latest developments on the fence and quarry. Learn more>>


Your voice matters! See what you can do to help stop the RDU Fence from moving forward. Learn more>>


We are a coalition of residents, organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs working towards preserving Lake Crabtree County Park, protecting Umstead State Park, and preserving the forested corridor that connects them.