Raleigh, NC – 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.
Community groups, united as the RDU Forest Coalition, celebrate the Conservation Fund’s proposal as a momentous move forward towards preservation of Umstead State Park and Wake County’s Lake Crabtree County Parks, and their surrounding recreational areas. “We are extremely hopeful that RDU is ready to work with the community to expand Umstead State Park and protect an irreplaceable and popular recreational space that has been enjoyed by locals for decades,” says Jean Spooner, Chair of the Umstead Coalition. “We see this as a win-win solution for both RDU and the community, and we’re excited about the opportunity for expanded hiking and mountain biking opportunities in such a popular, central area” added Dave Anderson, advocacy chair for the Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC).
For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact:
Dr. Jean Spooner, Umstead Coalition, 919-602-0049, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Anderson, Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC), 919-345-8011, email@example.com
Natalie Lew, Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC), 919-812-6446, firstname.lastname@example.org
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