January 8, 2020: Memorandum sent to NC Division of Parks and Recreation and Park Superintendent for William B. Umstead State Park
From: Dr. Jean Spooner, Chair, The Umstead Coalition
Reference: Request to PROTECT William B. Umstead State Park and not build unnecessary fence
The proposed fence project (RDU Project No. 211140) has profound detrimental impacts on one of our most visited Parks in NC. As such, sufficient time for two-way communications and discussions of alternatives and solutions should be requested.
Under RDUAA’s proposal, visitors to the park will be greeted with 8' tall chain link fence topped by 3-rows of barbed wire on both sides of the East Coast Greenway as they approach William B. Umstead State Park from Lake Crabtree County Park. And if the fence alone wasn't bad enough, RDU plans to clear cut a 30' wide path through the forest (15' to either side of the fence) for 8.3 miles, much of this along the border of William B. Umstead State Park. This will totally destroy the natural beauty of the Western approach to Umstead State Park. And, sever a vital wildlife corridor along Crabtree Creek and Haley’s Branch. And, cause significant water quality issues.
Adding to the public insult, RDUAA’s RFP shows the proposed fence severing our most popular trail within William B. Umstead State Park, the Reedy Creek Multi-use Trail. (Bid Sheet C27 of RDUAA RFP).
We object to this offensive fence and deforestation along much of our Park border. (see the attached Google Earth map that illustrates the vast extent of the proposed fence that would directly impact William B. Umstead State Park).
I. Impacts to Water Quality
The majority of the proposed fence has a direct and detrimental impact on William B. Umstead State Park. All the airport lands managed by the RDUAA drain TO William B. Umstead State Park.
By “Bid Quantities” provide in the RDUAA RFP for the proposed 8.3 miles of fencing (attached), the following water resources would be affected with a deforested 30’ wide- swath and security fence:
II. The Historic Multi-use William B. Umstead State Park Reedy Creek Trail Should NOT be Severed or Moved
In addition, the proposed fence and 30’ width deforested swath would be cut along over 1 mile (yes, over 1 mile) through the STEEP forested slopes of Crabtree Creek, with minimal little riparian buffer for such terrain. (see Bid Spec Sheets C41, C42C43, C44, C45, C46, and C47). This stretch of Crabtree Creek is immediately upstream of William B. Umstead State Park and within the Odd Fellows Tract.
William B. Umstead State Park should NOT move its historic Reedy Creek Park Trail. The Park trail location was well established in 1934 and has been used and maintained (by Umstead State Park staff) in the SAME location as a State Park multi-use trail continuously for the last 85 years. All the multi-use trails in the Park were built upon the historic road beds. Before it was our Reedy Creek Multi-use Park Trail, 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. See below the 1914 Soil Survey below (with today’s land use faded underneath) to document the historic roads.
It is the AIRPORT that encroached upon Umstead State Park (not the other way around as claimed by RDUAA staff). ALL of our Umstead State Park Trail (Reedy Creek Multi-use Trail) was INSIDE Umstead State Park from the Park's inception in 1934 until 1958. Our multi-use Park trail was built upon the historic road bed of Old Middle Hillsboro and Reedy Creek Roads. The location of the Park trail has NOT changed. In fact, it would be very expensive to do such.
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. A small portion of our Park land was forced to be traded with the airport in 1958 to provide for a safety zone for the WWII runway (see Wake County Commissioners minutes, Deeds Book/Page 1357/548 and 1358/590). That WWII runway is the General Aviation runway today.
When that forced land exchange occurred, the surveyors used the existing survey pin on the inside bend of the trail/road as the corner. The Park continued to use this major multi-use trail with collaboration from RDUAA. All of the Park maps clearly show the 1958 revised Park boundary with the historic trail location on airport managed property - there has been nothing hidden, or changed on the part of NC State Parks.
The Reedy Creek Multi-use Trail is maintained by NC State Parks. In addition, it has undergone two recent major renovations/investments. In 1989, the Reedy Creek Multi-use Trail received a major trail renovation project with the assistance of NCDOT, primarily due to the need for access to tornado-damaged areas. The improvements included grading, ditching, crowning, and graveling the trail to its former width (when it was a public road). And, in the mid-1990’s a major trail renovation project was undertaken by NC State Parks to improve the base and top screenings for horses and bike users. All keeping the SAME location and using the road base and location of the historic public roads. All these major trail renovations were done with coordination with the RDUAA.
III. Impacts to Wildlife Habitat and Historic Park Experience
William B. Umstead State Park, including its forests, is listed under the National Register of Historic Places. Is an 8-foot tall chain link fence with 3 rows of barbed wire along the top in the middle of a 30ft-wide deforested swath the image appropriate to form the border of a large portion of our prized NC State Park? To border our NC State Park with a Security fence spec’ed for power stations or prisons is an insult to our Park visitors.
The proposed fence would sever one of the last remaining connected wildlife corridors in the Triangle region along Crabtree Creek and Umstead State Park. This corridor is home to bald eagles, a protected Great Blue Heron nesting site, bobcat, and more.
See attached Google Earth graphic and figure below with the fence locations (from RFP) overlaid on the map with Park border and Lake Crabtree. Note, the fence would create isolated land islands.
In addition, the proposed fence would isolate Umstead State Park and severely limit (or perhaps prevent) the future of ability of Umstead State Park to provide new trails within Umstead State Park.
IV. Violation of the 250 feet Undisturbed Buffers Promised to the State Park in Existing Rock Quarry permit
The proposed fence outlining the Odd Fellow tract is a violation of Wake Stone’s current mining permit (Mining permit 92-10) and the commitment Wake Stone Corporation made to NC State Parks, DEQ and the Mining Commission when the existing quarry was permitted (after denial by DEQ). The committed buffers in the current mining permit are 250 feet wide and do NOT allow a fence within the buffer zones. The current Mining Permit 92-10 language includes:
“3.C Buffer Zones. All buffer zones shown on the Site Map revised February 26, 2018 shall be maintained to protect adjoining property. These buffer zones, with the exception of the installation of required sediment control measures and approved earthen berms, shall remain undisturbed.”
The proposed fence is an apparent attempt to circumvent this committed quarry buffer requirement. The proposal by RDUAA is to clear-cut the forest with only 10 feet buffer from the State Park boundary and 30 to 50 feet buffer along over 1 mile through the steep slopes of Crabtree Creek. No fence should be allowed on the Odd Fellows tract prior to an approved mining permit, and certainly with no less than committed 250 feet of undisturbed buffer.
Download a PDF of the email here.
Written by Liz Adams, Research Associate at the UNC Institute for the Environment
The NC Department of Environmental Quality provides an online community mapping system that allows you to see facilities that have permits for air and water quality emissions.
From this online map, I was able to access the Air Quality Permit for Wake Stone.
It states the following:
FUGITIVE DUST CONTROL REQUIREMENT- As required by 15A NCAC 20 .0540 "Particulates from Fugitive Dust Emission Sources," the Permittee shall not cause or allow fugitive dust emissions to cause or contribute to substantive complaints or excess visible emissions beyond the property boundary. If substantive complaints or excessive fugitive dust emissions from the facility are observed beyond the property boundaries for six minutes in any one hour (using Reference Method 22 in 40 CFR, Appendix A), the owner or operator may be required to submit a fugitive dust plan as described in 2D .0540(f).
"Fugitive dust emissions" means particulate matter that does not pass through a process stack or vent and that is generated within plant property boundaries from activities such as: unloading and loading areas, process areas stockpiles, stock pile working, plant parking lots, and plant roads (including access roads and haul roads).
It appears we would need to show that the dust emissions were visible for 6 minutes. If I were to do this testing, I would want to wear an air filtration mask with N99 Filters, as I suspect that the dust from the quarry contains silica.
There is also an environmental justice mapping system: https://ncdenr.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/5b65176a2d494271a871563846c974d7?ObjectID=35500
This seems to indicate a higher than the state average Asthma Hospitalization Rate.
Continue reading on Medium.com.
Written by the Capital Group Sierra Club
Umstead is a 5,559 acre forest which has seen a dramatic increase in the number of visitors with 1.8 million visitors in 2016, a 38 percent increase over 2015. The sale/lease of 105 acres of RDU managed property to Wake Stone has put Umstead State Park at much higher risk for long term damage and exposure to environmental pollution.
There are many major concerns here. One of such concerns is the need to protect the multi-use trails within Umstead State Park that serve as arterial greenway trails connecting Durham, Cary and Raleigh. This multi-use trail is identified by the NCDOT as Bikeway Trail US-1 Carolina Connection. Another major concern is the need to protect Crabtree Creek, a class B-NSW steam in the Neuse River Basin. Something to understand here is that the Nutrient Sensitive Waters (NSW) is a supplemental classification intended for waters needing additional nutrient management due to being subject to excessive growth of microscopic or macroscopic vegetation. The entire Neuse River Basin including Crabtree Creek is classified as NSW.
Description of damage to the park
Removing the forested buffer of the Odd Fellows Tract and replacing it with a quarry will harm Umstead State Park.
Description of damage to the community environmentally
Worst case description
The lease of this land for a quarry will harm the health and safety of over 2 million visitors per year to Umstead State Park for 25+ years. The quarry may sever or severely impair the east-west portion of the Cross-County connection between Durham County and Wake County through Umstead State Park. Active transportation users can currently travel north to south on the American Tobacco Trail or the Neuse River Trail, and east to west between the trails that go through Umstead State Park. This east-west connection is currently the only safe route for bicyclists, runners and pedestrians going between all of these major municipalities. (Note: building the connection between Crabtree Creek Greenway and Umstead State Park’s Turkey Creek and Cedar Ridge Trails on the other side of Umstead State Park was delayed over 20+ years due to litigation between the City of Raleigh and Hanson Aggregates Quarry.)
RDU Authority has the purpose of serving the community and must consider functions which assist in that purpose. The Sierra Club does feel that other uses such as a forested recreation land use as offered by the Conservation Fund is a better choice than the quarry. Once the rock is removed, the 400 feet deep quarry pit will remain and there will be no way to return it to a scenic and environmentally supportive use.
Concerning preservation of open space or public property
The Sierra Club will always strive to promote efficient use of our natural resources, especially in urban areas as growing cities are encroaching upon our natural resources. We believe that it is imperative that we can conserve open space wherever possible, as doing so would promote better quality of life and infrastructure in a growing city like Raleigh. Furthermore, as Sierra Club is committed to the advocacy of equity, inclusion, and justice, we want to ensure that everyone can benefit from the preservation of open space regardless of backgrounds, and the aforementioned proposal to turn the Odd Fellows Tract into a part of the forested recreation is one which the general public can all benefit.
Article XIV, Section 5, of the North Carolina Constitution provides the following: It shall be the policy of this State to conserve and protect its lands and waters for the benefit of all its citizenry, and to this end it shall be a proper function of the State of North Carolina and its political subdivisions to acquire and preserve park, recreational, and scenic areas, to control and limit the pollution of our air and water, to control excessive noise, and in every other appropriate way to preserve as a part of the common heritage of this State its forests, wetlands, estuaries, beaches, historical sites, open lands, and places of beauty.
Thanks for helping to protect Umstead State Park and our public lands along the Old Reedy Creek Corridor from what would be the first private quarry on public lands in North Carolina. We couldn’t have brought so much public support and attention to this issue without you.
Our 2019 highlights
But our fight is far from over
Wake Stone Corporation says they intend to file a mining permit application and we intent to ask for its denial.
RDU plans to build an 8’ chain link, topped with 3 rows of barbed wire fence along their border with Umstead State Park to also encircle/isolate each of the Odd Fellows Tract and 286 . There will be 15' of clearing on each side of the fence and it will be 8.3 miles long! The RDUAA Board say they will vote on the RDU Fence project on January 16, 2020 and construction would then begin immediately.
You can learn more about their plans here. We are strongly opposed to such an environmentally disruptive fence. The savings to RDUAA by not build this unneeded fence would be sufficient for Wake County to lease and manage bike/ped trails on these tracts.
We will need your continued support in 2020 as we fight the quarry, and now, the fence. We remain steadfastly committed to our goals:
How you can help
Please contact Governor Cooper and Wake/Raleigh/Durham cities and counties to voice your opposition to the quarry and fence:
Join us on New Year’s Day for our First Day Hike in Umstead along the border of the Odd Fellows Tract at 1:00 PM. Find more details on Meetup or Facebook.
And please share our GoFundMe fundraiser with your friends and families— or consider donating again. We have a generous donor who has offered to match donations up to $30,000. Your support to protect the Odd Fellows Tract from irreversible damage is more important now than ever. Together we can continue this fight and protect our public lands in 2020!
Want a quick update on the quarry and the fence? In this video, Charles Morris, filmmaker of 400 Feet Down, provides a summary on what's happening with the proposed quarry and fence. The next few weeks are jam-packed with opportunities to ask your local elected officials to:
Could the Wake Stone Quarry (Triangle Quarry) and the proposed quarry expansion that borders Umstead State Park ever become a recreational amenity that would benefit the community? How much would the RDU and Wake Stone concept plan cost, and who would pay?
We know some answers on how much it would cost, both financially and in regards to the required environmental permits, from a study that the Town of Cary commissioned in 2013 by CH2MHILL to determine if water could be stored in the Triangle Quarry. It was one of 5 alternative options studied under a joint Cary-Apex-Morrisville Study to expand our public water supply. This option was not selected, as it was too costly and complex compared to withdrawing more water from Jordan Lake.
The cost for this option to fill the existing Wake Stone Quarry pit with water was estimated to be $178 million. We need to dig further to determine what this covers, but it is safe to say, that implementing concept plan by Wake Stone will be difficult and expensive. Wake Stone’s concept plan shows both quarry pits filled with water, the existing quarry pit, and the one on public land that will be leased from RDU Airport Authority.
The following section is quoted from this Cary-Apex-Morrisville Joint Water Supply Basin Planning study:
Option 4: Water Supply from Crabtree Creek with Storage in Existing Triangle Quarry
Raw water would be pumped from Crabtree Creek, stored in Wake Stone Corporation Triangle Quarry (CH2M HILL and Brown and Caldwell,2013, Figure 3), treated at a new WTP located nearby, and distributed through the existing water system.
The quarry has the potential to provide up to 4.6 billion gallons of raw water storage at the projected final excavated volume.
The State of North Carolina has the first right of refusal for the quarry parcel when the mining is complete, so the state would have to agree to relinquish that right to the property.
For this strategy, raw water would be withdrawn under operational guidelines based on thresholds for different withdrawal scenarios that could occur based on available flows in Crabtree Creek.
Based on these preliminary guidelines, an annual average safe yield of 10 mgd from Crabtree Creek is projected. During the summer peak demand months, up to 12 mgd could be provided from the quarry storage.
An environmental document meeting the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) requirements would be necessary for this strategy. There are several key issues which could affect the feasibility of this alternative including:
Is it ethical for RDU Airport Authority and Wake Stone to claim that an recreational amenity would be available to the community after the closure of the expanded Wake Stone Quarry without showing how this plan will be implemented, and at what cost?
Hear from one of our RDU Forest supporters, Jeff Wald, on why he opposes the proposed quarry and 8' chain link, barbed wire fence that will border Umstead State Park.
"We see this forest as a tremendous opportunity for outdoor recreation for this evergrowing metropolitan area—it's right in the center of it."
The existing Wake Stone Quarry at Harrison Avenue in the Town of Cary mines materials are classified as metavolcanic felsic rocks. The existing hole is 400 feet down, 30 feet below sea level and consists of 140 acres of cleared land that borders I-40 and Umstead State Park.
Felsic rocks contain silica in their name (sic), as they contain greater than 65% silica. The higher the amount of silica, the riskier it is for people to inhale the dust that is generated from mining operations. Exposure to dust that contains silica without adequate protection causes silicosis, which is an incurable lung disease. If you see dust clouds from mining operations, or even if you don’t see them, you may be exposed to harmful levels of silica.
The Environmental Protection Agency provides excellent tools to help communities understand their exposure to harmful air pollution. I examined the online map from the 2014 National Emissions Inventory for our area and couldn’t see any reported emissions of PM2.5 or PM10 from Wake Stone at their RTP location. Even when reported, air emissions are often estimated, rather than measured directly.
There aren’t enough official Air Quality monitoring stations to measure every hazardous or harmful air pollutant in the air across the country as they are very expensive to install and operate. The closest monitor to Umstead State Park is located over 3 miles away at the Triple Oak Station along I-40 near the airport.
The science on the health and environmental effects of PM2.5 is an emerging area of research and scientists are continuing to discover new harmful effects of fine particulate exposure including harmful impacts to every organ in the body.
I have been bicycling and collecting hyper local air quality data using the Plume Flow Sensor for over 6 months. I was concerned about the dust that I had observed at the entrance to the Wake Stone Quarry. I wondered if PM2.5 and PM10 emissions were reaching Umstead State Park, exposing kids who were attending camps, as well as the runners, bicyclists and hikers who use the trails.
Collecting data on PM2.5 concentrations surrounding the existing mine has been an adventure. Riding my bike with the Plume Air Flow monitor has provided me with lots of data. I see it as an opportunity to directly observe and experience winter time inversions caused by cold air aloft that traps pollution at the surface, or rain storms that wash the pollution away. Cycling a regular route down Evans to the new Crabtree Creek Greenway, through Umstead State Park and then back again on the Black Creek Greenway a few times a week for a few months, has helped me to identify multiple sources of pollution and the factors that lead to buildup of the concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 in the air.
November 5, 2019: Written by Natalie Lew to the Cities of Raleigh & Durham and Wake & Durham Counties
A business opportunity including restaurants; small to medium meeting and entertainment venues; and outdoor recreation-education-team building features that creates an airport campus which benefits the airport, residents, travelers, businesses, etc.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information in full. I am part of a volunteer group that has presented an idea to the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority (RDAUAA) that has much benefit to the airport, the airport campus, and the region. One that provides long-term financial income to our airport, creates an airport campus that supports local businesses and attracts visitors from afar, preserves the Odd Fellows land, and protects Umstead State Park. This idea is an alternative to the proposed new 400 foot deep rock pit on the Odd Fellows land which only provides short-term income to the airport, will stop the airport campus from becoming an economic benefit to the RDU International Airport and the greater community, and would lead to the destruction of an extremely rare and irreplaceable gem - a large forested natural environment located in the middle of our metropolitan area.
The RDUAA might say that this issue is about a spoiled group of mountain bikers that is trespassing on their land. That is totally wrong. This is about our community and our quality of life. This is about the history of our land. This is about the Boy Scouts who can no longer camp in the area as they have done since the 1950’s. This is about the running clubs, the bird-watching groups, the fisherman, the hikers, the boulderers, and many other groups that use the area. This is about families that bring their children to walk, ride, and socialize on the greenway leading to our state park. This is about our health and the health of our environment. This is about the animals that live in the state park and surrounding areas. This is about the loss of the last and final enclave of forested space next to the most used state park.
This is about the fact that we have a really, really good proposal for a business opportunity other than a rock quarry and this idea benefits so many more people than does this rock quarry. Imagine an airport adjacent to a resort - a resort with a base village like a ski resort. The base village includes restaurants, shopping, entertainment, entertainment venues, conference centers, zip lines, ropes courses, rock climbing wall, pump track, equipment rentals, etc. The base village is the gateway to the forest and its activities. I travel with my regular job and have had many occasions in which the team flies to an airport, stays at the airport hotel for a meeting, and then gets the heck out of there because there is nothing to do. Currently, nobody flies into RDU to hold a meeting at RDU and nobody comes to the airport area for shopping/entertainment. The RDU Forest Village will change that. Companies will want to hold meetings on the RDU airport campus; travelers and locals will want to visit and/or stay on the airport campus to experience the multitude of available activities.
The preservation of the Odd Fellows tract is important in making the airport campus an effective and viable business and tourism destination. A ski village does not exist without its adjacent ski slopes. They have a symbiotic relationship. RDU airport will be stronger and better if it preserves the Odd Fellows tract and works in concert with Umstead State Park and the community that owns it. The trails and activities hosted within these forested lands is what draws people to the base village. The base village supports the visitors. The base village, given its proximity to the airport and the park, facilitates access to a destination that draws visitors and customers from not only the local community, but from the flying community as well. The business and tourism destination benefits to both the airport and the community will be lost without preservation of the Odd Fellows land.
After you have reviewed the pages that follow, please feel free to contact me via phone or email with questions. Let me know if you want to tour the area for an overview of the situation and our proposal. Our group is confident that our proposal will create a benefit to all and will create a unique airport and airport campus, one that is not replicated anywhere in this country, let alone the world. My ask: please consider 1) openly stating you are in favor of preserving the Odd Fellows tract and 2) facilitating the creation of the RDU Forest Village Concept on the RDU Airport campus.
Read the full proposal here.
Learn more about the RDU Forest Village Vision here.
2014, RDU Airport report: “Environmental integrity must be a cornerstone of RDU’s development strategy, and should begin with the adoption of the following: Strengthening RDU’s branding as a good steward of the land; Capitalizing on locational environmental advantages of surplus land parcels such as water and forests; Creating a comprehensive sustainability plan that includes energy efficiency, use, and production, as well as environmentally sensitive storm water management, landscape maintenance practices, air quality, and carbon emissions; and Protecting open spaces within and around developed property.” (http://uli.org/wp-content/uploads/ULI-Documents/Raleigh-Durham-Airport_PanelReport_lores_FINAL.pdf)
The long term lease of recreational land for a granite rock quarry next to Umstead State Park and along the East Coast Greenway undermines the foundation and authority of RDU Airport. Rather than being good stewards and protecting Umstead State Park, Lake Crabtree County Park and the existing mountain bike trails on 286 and the Odd Fellows Tract, the RDU 2040 plan converts these open spaces into industrial and commercial uses.
Industrial uses such as open pit quarry mines are incompatible when sited next to residential and recreational open space and multi-use trails.
If this land was still under the zoning authority of the Town of Cary, this proposed development would require a rezoning that would need to meet the policies of the Town of Cary including the MOVES policy:
Cary’s MOVE policies are designed to respond to transportation challenges and opportunities:
§ Allow mobility choices
Ensure Safety for All Users and Modes (Policy 1)
Here is a proposed rezoning that failed because it didn’t meet the land use policies of the Town of Cary. http://carync.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=4466&MediaPosition=&ID=3310&CssClass=
The reason that the Town of Cary and other local municipalities have requirements for neighborhood meetings with the developers and staff prior to rezoning is to identify concerns and to prevent harm. Staff develops a comprehensive report on each proposed rezoning that helps identify whether the proposal from the developer meets the policies and goals enacted by the town.
A few significant concerns that the RDU Airport Authority seems to have disregarded include the hazards of allowing logging trucks on the Old Reedy Creek Multi Use Trail and the degradation of air quality due to quarry blasting and grinding of granite.
Remember, Silica is not just dust.
EMAIL SIGN UP
Support us with Amazon Smile