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Sierra Club Capital Group Concerns About 286, Lake Crabtree County Park & the Odd Fellows Tract

02/28/2020 12:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Written by Hwa Huang, Group Chair, Sierra Club Capital Group. Letter to the Wake County Commissioners on February 28, 2020.

Dear Wake County Commissioners,

My name is Hwa Huang, and I am a constituent in Wake County. I am writing to you as the group chair of the local Sierra Club Capital Group, regarding the recent news that some of you were considering options for turning the “286” lands next to RDU Airport into a bike trail area. 

I want to thank the commissioners for bringing these issues up to the table. However I am also concerned about the Airport Authority's plan to turn the Odd Fellows tract into a rock quarry, and its plan to potentially develop much of Lake Crabtree County Park.

The renewed “RDU Forest” discussions by the Wake County Commissioners have brought up a few questions that I was hoping the Wake County Commissioners can work with the Sierra Club Capital Group to resolve together:

  1. It has been mentioned that the land above floodplain at Lake Crabtree County Park would be turned into an office park. How many of the single-track bike trails at Lake Crabtree are above the 100 year floodplain, and are therefore in jeopardy of being lost for the office park? What options does the County have to save these trails, or indeed the entire park

  2. According to a recent article from the Triangle Business Journal, Wake Stone has proposed offering $3.6 million to Wake County for building trails at 286, which is still not off the table. I am concerned that taking the monetary offer from Wake Stone would result in the Wake County Commissioners being financially bound to a quarry they do not want. Furthermore, it has been reported that the North Carolina Division of Parks is willing to work on taking in 286 as part of the Umstead park land (and/or work with Wake County to develop alternative trail solutions for 286), and according to the letter from FAA to one of the members of The Umstead Coalition, the airport can in fact sell land (Letter here). Would the Wake County Commissioners pursue independent funding options without involving the proposed, not yet approved, quarry?

  3. On Tuesday, February 18, Dr. Ron Sutherland, Chief Scientist of Wildlands Network, did a presentation at the Capital Group of the Sierra Club meeting on how vital it is that we protect what is left of the wildlife corridors connecting Umstead State Park to Lake Crabtree, and then over to the Jordan Lake Gamelands.  The Jordan Lake Gamelands are in turn connected to the rest of the potential east coast wildlife corridor that Wildlands Network calls “The Eastern Wildway”. Will Wake County Commissioners ensure that the proper environmental study is being conducted to minimize the damage that would be brought about by losing the Odd Fellows tract and Lake Crabtree Park and therefore the only connection that Umstead has to the broader landscape? 

The Sierra Club Capital Group is deeply engaged in the issue, and we look forward to working with the Wake County Commissioners as well as with the state park together in moving forward to ensure the environmental integrity of Umstead State Park and its surrounding forested lands and wildlife corridors are protected.  We want to ensure that these lands can remain safe for people seeking recreation as well as the wildlife. 

I look forward to hearing your response.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Hwa Huang

Group Chair

Sierra Club Capital Group

The Umstead Coalition

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