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The Umstead Coalition 
Celebrating Umstead State Park since 1934!

Projects by the Umstead Coalition

Learn more about many of our projects and events to support Umstead State Park below.

Butterfly Wildflower Gardens

Photo credit: Steve Rogers, 2017 Umstead Photo ContestWe installed two butterfly wildflower gardens to provide habitat or “Monarch Way Stations" for migrating Monarch butterflies.  William B. Umstead State Park is the migration route of the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). 

Two small sites selected for the butterfly wildflower gardens are at the Reedy Creek Parking Lot at the Harrison Ave entrance along the most popular walking route from the parking lot to the bathhouse and picnic areas. High visibility to the majority of visitors will enable encouragement to create Monarch butterfly habitat in their yards as well.

The installation of the Monarch butterfly gardens was concurrent with the forest rain garden installation and entirely installed by volunteers.

Solar Panels for the Umstead State Park Visitor Center

Photo source: Southern Energy ManagementThe solar panels have been installed! We strive to make William B. Umstead State Park a place that people can come and learn how to make the environment in which they live cleaner, healthier, and more natural. And to practice what we preach, we wanted offset some of the electricity we use with power from the sun.

The 5kw solar photovoltaic (PV) system not only produces electricity for the Visitor Center and helps reduce our dependence on energy derived from fossil fuels, but also provides an educational component for the public to learn about renewable energy.

A small wall mounted tablet delivers real time solar energy production data to visitors and allows park staff to educate the public about the system and the benefits of solar power. Southern Energy Management, a local B-corporation with nearly 1000 solar installations under their belt, was our partnering contractor.

Forested Rain Gardens / Bioretention Areas

We installed innovative stormwater BMP of forested bioretention cells (rain gardens) within a 210 space parking lot median at William B. Umstead State Park.

The parking area that drains to the stormwater control measure is 1.3 acres, of which 1 acre is impervious. 

This project will result in several environmental and user benefits, including:  reduced runoff volume and intensity of stormwater runoff due to the infiltration into special soil media we will install in the medians. 

The native trees and shrubs will provide much needed shade in the hot, steamy parking lot.  The shade will also reduce the thermal impact to the down-gradiant streams. More information:  Forested Rain Garden and Site location and Design Schematics.

On April 21, 2023, the Umstead Coalition won the Climate Action Award at the 2023 Raleigh Environmental Awards for the forested rain garden. Photo: Bo Groff (L) and Paul Groff (R) accepting the award on behalf of the Umstead Coalition. Bo volunteered countless hours to help maintain the rain garden for his Eagle Scout Project. Thank you, Bo!

Triangle I-40 Bikeway (along I-40)

Photo credit: Georgina Jones, 2016 Umstead Photo ContestThe Triangle I-40 bikeway  will connect the Trenton Road Greenway to RDU Forest and Davis Drive (RTP- Triangle Park Center). This missing link would enable bike/ped connections from downtown Raleigh to RDU and RTP.  It will enable connections to many of the area's major greenways, including: Black Creek, Reedy Creek, House Creek, Rocky Branch, Walnut Creek, American Tobacco Trail, Crabtree Creek, and the Neuse Greenways.  In addition to the regional/national East Coast Greenway and NC 2 (Mountains to Sea) and US 1 (Carolina Connection) bike routes.

AND, the Triangle Bikeway would serve as a vital connection to the RDU Forest trail system at Lake Crabtree County Park, RDU Airport, and Umstead State Park via the Old Reedy Creek Road Corridor.

More information and status: Triangle I-40 Bikeway

Cedar Ridge Trail Rerouting

Photo credit: Georgina Jones, 2018 Umstead Photo ContestThe Cedar Ridge multi-use trail at William B. Umstead State Park is open again with upgrades and re-routing. The 1.4-mile gravel trail did not currently meet the standards of other multi-use trails in the park.

The repairs and re-route bring the trail up to current multi-use trail standards using sustainable trail construction standards including grade reversals, rolling dips, water turnouts to minimize erosion, and granite screenings to the top surface. Improved ditching will be added in some sections and bench cuts were used for sections that are re-routed. 

This project was made possible by a grant through the Umstead Coalition from the NC Recreation Trails Program with match assistance from The Umstead Coalition, volunteers, the Umstead 100, Carolina Godiva Tract Club, NC Road Runners Club, Great Outdoor Provision Company and Park staff. 

See the Cedar Ridge Reroute Concept Map and Trail Grade Reversal Technique.

US70 Entrance Improvement

Umstead State Park Exchange of Land will improve US 70 entrance and enable additional lands for Umstead State Park. The Umstead Coalition is in full support of the transfer of lands and funds to improve the entrance at US70, as well as securing funds for much needed Park lands that are contiguous to our Park. We requested Conditional Uses on the rezoning request that prohibit commercial heavy truck usage on the land across US70 (this request was only partially included). We have also requested vegetative buffers along US70 (this request was approved by Raleigh City Council). 

This is the perfect opportunity for Umstead and the RDU Airport to work together.  We can use these funds to help provide RDU with funds and purchase the critical Odd Fellows Tract from the RDU Airport.

Stories in Stone: Memories From a Bygone Farming Community in North Carolina

Coming in 2023! The much anticipated reprint of Stories in Stone will be coming in 2023.

Written by Tom Weber, Stories in Stone contains many oral histories from people who lived in what is now Umstead State Park, as well as mapped hikes to the historic sites. There are over 400 photos and illustrations.

The scope of Stories in Stone stretches from the footsteps of Native American hunters centuries ago to a description of William B. Umstead State Park today.

However, the main focus is on the oral history of the last generation of pre-Park area residents and of the people that built the Park.

Their words narrate four mapped walks to former home sites and other traces of the community. The work of naturalists, folklorists, journalists, historians, photographers, and artists fill out the background of a place and its people.

Stories in Stone preserves memories dating between 1870 and 1942 from the farming community that once lived in Wake County, North Carolina’s William B. Umstead State Park. This nearly 6,000-acre Piedmont woodland lies between the cities of Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham, which for the Research Triangle, NC.


We're excited to announce that a new book about mushrooms in Umstead State Park is now available for purchase online ($49).

The Mushrooms of Umstead State Park is a mushroom photo-book with up to date (as of publishing) scientific names and relevant details of morphology. This book is intended as a basic guidebook to orient interested folks in identifying the wild and varying fleshy fungi of Umstead State Park and the surrounding Piedmont region from a long time naturalist (mycology and entomology) and PhD. With some 400 author shot photos of specimens all existing in Umstead State Park, Raleigh, NC.

You can purchase a Kindle edition on Amazon

Note: All proceeds go to the author, Geoff Balme, to cover his costs to product this amazing work.


The Umstead Coalition

We are a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the natural integrity of William B. Umstead State Park and the Richland Creek Corridor.


The Umstead Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.