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The Umstead Coalition 
Celebrating Umstead State Park since 1934!
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  • 06/01/2020 4:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you for submitting public comments to DEQ and local elected officials voicing your opposition to RDU Quarry. We appreciate your support!

    The Public Hearing for RDU Quarry will be held virtually on June 23, 2020 at 6 p.m. EDT.  Get login details here.

    We're seeking people to speak against the quarry. Public comments are limited to two minutes. Don't worry if you don't know what to say or even like public speaking — we'll help you with talking points.

    If you're interested in speaking, you must register in advance. Once you register, reply to this email or email us at info@umsteadcoalition.org to let us know and we'll be in touch. 

    By  State Law, the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) can deny a mining permit for any of the five following reasons:

    1. Adverse effect on the purposes of a publicly owned park, forest or recreation area
    2. Adverse effects on potable groundwater supplies, wildlife or fresh water
    3. Violating standards of air quality, surface water quality, or groundwater quality
    4. Hazard to public health and safety
    5. Hazard to a neighboring dwelling house, school, church, commercial or industrial building, public road or other public property
    Local public officials have the power to stop the quarry and the fence. We have provided some sample emails/letters here.

    You can email or mail your letters to the elected officials asking for the 50-year Sunset Clause to be reinstated and to deny the new mining permit for the Odd Fellows Tract.

    NC Office of the Governor

    20301 Mail Service Center

    Raleigh, NC 27699-0301

    When writing comments to DEQ, it's essential for your comments to directly relate to one or more of these five reasons for denial.

    Read the NCDEQ Press Release about the Public Hearing below:

    The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources (DEMLR) is seeking community feedback on Wake Stone Corporation’s application for modification to Permit 92-10.  Based on current guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and limits on size of public gatherings under Phase 2, the public hearing on this application will be held digitally on June 23, 2020.

    The public is invited to participate online or listen by phone. Speakers will be asked to register in advance.

    WHEN: Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 6:00 PM

    Participants can join the meeting starting at 5:45 PM

    https://deq.nc.gov/news/press-releases/2020/05/22/public-hearing-wake-stone-quarry-application-modification-update

    ONLINE

    Cisco WebEx Link

    Meeting Number (Access Code): 617 499 551

    Meeting Password: DEQ123

    PHONE:

    Cisco WebEx by Phone: +1 415 655 0003 US TOLL 

    Meeting number (access code): 617 449 551

    *If you wish to speak at the digital public hearing, you must register, provide the required information, and follow instructions on ways to join the public hearing. Registration must be completed by 12:00 PM on June 23, 2020. To register, please click the following link.

    *If you have technical difficulties, an automated voicemail will be set up from June 23 to July 3 to receive your verbal comments: 919-707-9209 (Please state your name before commenting.)

    To submit a public comment or obtain additional information concerning the hearing, email ncminingprogram@ncdenr.gov or write:

    Judy Wehner

    Assistant State Mining Specialist

    Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources

    1612 Mail Service Center

    Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1612

    Telephone: (919) 707-9220

    The proceedings will remain open for a period of ten (10) days following the hearing for additional written arguments or statements ending on Friday, July 03, 2020.

    DEQ will consider all public comments and other available information about the permit application before deciding whether to issue the final permit, deny the permit or issue it with amended conditions.

    The application, public notice, and proposed mine maps can be found here.

    https://deq.nc.gov/news/press-releases/2020/05/22/public-hearing-wake-stone-quarry-application-modification-update

  • 05/13/2020 1:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch

    Company proposing controversial Wake quarry wants to build truck bridge over polluted creek; environmental advocates seek a public hearing

    Wake Stone, the company behind a controversial quarry expansion next to Umstead State Park, has significantly changed its mining permit application to include a bridge over Crabtree Creek, a troubled tributary of the Neuse River.

    The plan was included in a modified application that Wake Stone submitted to the NC Department of Environmental Quality on April 8.

    According to the company, the bridge would be built over a portion of the creek that lies within the proposed new mining boundary. It would be used to truck “overburden” — clear-cut trees, soil and other unusable material — from the existing Wake Stone operation to a storage pit at the proposed mine, which has yet to be permitted. 

    In its application to DEQ’s Division of Energy, Mining and Land Resources (DEMLR), the company claims bridge construction and other mining activities won’t harm the creek “for the foreseeable future.”

    The proposed 106-acre mine would be 300 feet deep and located on a parcel known as the Oddfellows Tract. Although technically Wake and Durham counties and Raleigh and Durham own the land, the Airport Authority manages it. In turn, the authority  leased the land to Wake Stone, a move that opponents have challenged in court, albeit so far unsuccessfully. 

    Counting roads and office buildings, a total of more than 225 acres, including 59 acres of trees, would be affected by the mine’s expansion.

    Continue reading the full article on NC Policy Watch.

  • 04/29/2020 7:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Senator Nickel pledges to stand with local activists calling for a delay in granting Wake Stone Corporation a controversial mining permit for land neighboring William B. Umstead State Park until a public hearing can be held.

    RALEIGH, NC – Senator Wiley Nickel, State Senator for the 16th Senate District (Cary, Morrisville & NW Raleigh), expresses concerns regarding Wake Stone Corporation’s application for a mining permit modification request, saying:

    “Public hearings are an imperative part of permitting procedures. They allow the public a chance to react to plans for new development and raise awareness of potentially disastrous environmental or social impacts. On April 8, in the midst of an international public health crisis,

    Wake Stone Corporation filed a mining permit modification request with the state Division of Energy, Minerals, and Land Resources (DEMLR). The Corporation’s target: a controversial forested area neighboring William B. Umstead State Park. If construction moves forward, this pristine forest would be transformed into the first private rock quarry on public land in North Carolina.

    Local activists and organizations have been fighting to prevent this polluting pit for years.

    Quarry opponents, ranging from local residents to environmental activists and mountain bikers,

    have expressed grave concerns regarding potential environmental, economic, and public health impacts should quarrying efforts proceed as planned. These concerns deserve to be considered in a public forum.

    I respectfully urge DEMLR to delay consideration of the mining permit until a safe, in-person public hearing can be held. The COVID-19 pandemic should not be used as a backdoor for corporations to destroy North Carolina’s natural wonders.”

    ###

  • 02/11/2020 8:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Please attend this workshop at RDU on Thursday, February 13 from 5pm - 8pm to ask questions, provide feedback and help influence RDU's first Sustainability Management Plan. 

    The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority works with community leaders to grow responsibly, with respect for our natural resources and a desire to deliver a world-class airport experience. We have been diligent in environmental stewardship, often exceeding regulatory requirements. As our region thrives, we remain committed to responsible, sustainable growth that positively contributes to all aspects of our dynamic community — environmentally, socially and fiscally.

    The Authority is developing RDU’s first Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) to improve the tracking and communication of the airport’s sustainability initiatives, increase efficiency, and better incorporate economic savings and environmental stewardship into project planning. The SMP will provide a road map for the integration of environmental sustainability into its planning, construction, maintenance, operations and design processes. RDU is engaging stakeholders throughout the process, identifying focus areas and conducting a baseline study to include energy usage; waste management and recycling; emissions inventory; water consumption; and community engagement, among others. The baseline will be used to develop sustainability goals for the airport.

    The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority will hold a public workshop on the Sustainability Management Plan on February 13th from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. The workshop will be held in Room 100 of RDU Center at 1000 Trade Drive, RDU Airport, NC 27623. The Sustainability Management Plan process and the results of a baseline assessment will be discussed during the drop-in workshop. For questions about accessibility contact 919-840-7700, and if possible, make requests at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled workshop. 

    Learn more

  • 02/03/2020 10:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 2020 “Photo Contest - Catch the Spirit of William B. Umstead State Park” Exhibit will feature photography of the Park, its structures and nature so get out your cameras, pick out your best shots and submit an entry to our contest. The submission deadline is May 24, 2020. Register now.

    Photos must be taken in Umstead State Park to be eligible. Your photo can be taken at anytime, so you can take new photos or look through your treasure trove of past photos. 

    Adult Photography Categories

    Entries are limited to one per category.

    1. Where are Your Footprints?

    People doing Park activities, or evidence of people doing Park activities

    2. Stories in Stone

    Remnants and structures of the Park history

    3. In the Wild

    Park flora and fauna

    Youth Photography Categories

    Youth are 16 years old and under. Youth will have the same categories as adults, but will be judged together rather than by category. 

    Prizes

    First, Second and  Honorable Mention winners will receive the following:

    • Feature in a special exhibit at the Umstead State Park Visitor Center
    • Complimentary Umstead State Park calendar
    • One-year household membership for The Umstead Coalition
    • Winning photo posted on The Umstead Coalition website

    Catch the Spirit of Umstead State Park Exhibit

    Winners are encouraged to attend the exhibit reception, which is open to the public. The reception will take place  in June 27,  2020 from 2pm - 4pm in the Umstead State Park Visitor’s Center, 8801 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27617.

    Registration

    Registration is available now. The deadline for submissions is May 24, 2020. 

    REGISTER NOW 

    Illustration Contest

    The goal of our annual illustration contest is to showcase some of the wonders of Umstead State Park using graphic illustrations. Winning illustrations will be featured on displays at the Park Visitor Center, commemorative t-shirts and similar items to support our Park. Register now.

    Illustrations (drawings) featuring or inspired by plants, animals, landscape or historic features within Umstead State Park will be accepted.  Please submit your graphic illustration as an Illustrator file compatible with CS5, but we will accept EPS, JPG, TIP or Photoshop.

    Prizes

    Multiple winners are possible. Winning entries will receive:

    • Featured display at Park Visitor Center
    • Featured illustration on items supporting the Park (e.g., t-shirts, canvas bags, note cards)
    • Complimentary Umstead State Park calendar
    • One-year household membership for The Umstead Coalition
    • Winning graphic posted on The Umstead Coalition website

    Catch the Spirit of Umstead State Park Exhibit

    Winners are encouraged to attend the exhibit reception, which is open to the public. The reception will take place  on June 27,  2020 from 2pm - 4pm in the Umstead State Park Visitor’s Center, 8801 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27617.

    Registration

    Registration is available now. The deadline for submissions is May 24, 2020. 

    REGISTER NOW

  • 02/03/2020 12:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    February 3, 2020

    Mr. Greg Ford, Chairman
    Wake County Board of Commissioners
    RE:  RDUAA/Umstead State Park/Lake Crabtree County Park

    Dear Chairman Ford,

    On Monday, January 27, 2020, your Wake County Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee (OSAPAC) met for our regularly scheduled monthly meeting. As a part of our agenda, we continued our broad discussion of the Raleigh Durham Airport Authority (RDUAA) properties related to Umstead State Park and Lake Crabtree County Park and considered our role in the stewardship of the county’s parks.  You will recall that in a letter to the Board of Commissioners in 2016, OSAPAC recommended the County support the idea of the development of an Urban Trail Center on specific parcels owned by RDUAA and a portion of Umstead State Park north of I-40. This endeavor was, and continues to be thought of, as potentially a great benefit for the RDUAA and the entire region.  

    Since that time in 2016, a lot has transpired related to the properties. OSAPAC continues to support the recommendations in our 2016 letter. However, it will take a concerted effort by all the interested parties to work together towards a viable solution that will meet the needs of RDUAA while protecting Umstead State Park and Lake Crabtree County Park. We reaffirm OSAPAC’s concerns and continue to encourage the County to continue to take an active role in facilitating a collaborative, cooperative and mutually beneficial solution that retains the land’s most important environmental resources and allows public access for compatible outdoor recreation. OSAPAC is happy to assist in whatever manner the Board of Commissioners finds most helpful to bring together or help facilitate a process that can benefit all parties.

    Sincerely,

    Robert C. Hinson, Chair

    Wake County Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee

    CC:

    Wake County CommissionersWake County Open Space & Parks Advisory Committee Members
    David Ellis, Wake County Manager
    Johnna Rogers, Deputy Wake County Manager
    Scott Warren, Wake County Attorney
    Denise Hogan, Clerk to the Board of CommissionersFrank Cope, Wake County Community Services Director

    Read a PDF of the letter here.

  • 01/27/2020 9:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At today's special RDUAA Board meeting, potential "Terminal I Expansion" was presented.  RDUAA staff said they would study further, but anticipated coming back to the Board around April to ask proceed to move forward to expand T1 to accommodate more gates (than planned in the Vision 2040 Plan).

    The current Vision 2040  Airport Layout Plan (ALP) calls for a 4-gate expansion at T1 (the terminal on the east side closest to Umstead State Park) and 19 more gates at T2 (terminal on the west side).  And, consideration of lengthening the eastern runway closest to Umstead State Park only AFTER relocation of the western runway (and then, perhaps not at al).

    FYI, the planned 4 additional gates at T1 are being constructed and plan to open by around April of this year. That will enable some gates to open up at T2.

    RDU's presentation on January 27, 2020 suggested that a MAJOR change be considered to ADD ADDITIONAL 9 to 16 or more gates to T1.  Essentially this would mean that ALL the number of planned additional gates in the Vision 2040 plan be pushed to T1 !   (with concurrent terminal sq-footage expansion).  

    The RDU Staff shared three driving factors that they think merit this major change in the ALP:

    1) Enplanements (the number of passengers getting on planes) is exceeding the forecast estimates.  However, the planes are getting larger, carrying more passengers per plane, as well as other factors, so they are estimating the needed gates through modeling.  FYI, the time of day that requires the most gates is mid-afternoon.  (the maximum flights are early morning, but the planes have 'slept' at RDU and don't take much gate occupancy time).

    2) T2 gate increase would not occur until about 8 years (5 years to relocate runway to the west, and another 2 to 3 for gate expansion).

    3) While gate expansion occurs in T2, it will take away useful gates during construction (the gate expansion can be phased which will minimize, but not eliminate this problem)

    I have MAJOR concerns with this proposal because it would push much MORE aircraft traffic on the east side closest to Umstead State Park.  It may also encourage an unnecessary lengthening of the runway closest to Umstead State Park.  I believe this massive number of gate expansion of T1 before T2 is expanded (8 years will be here pretty soon) should be severely limited as per the current ALP.  Note, the ALP was recently "Conditionally approved" by FAA in the spring of 2018.  There are ways to make gate usage more efficient, and to the credit of RDUAA, they are implementing some of them.

    The RDUAA staff told their Board today that they will continue to talk with the airlines, run models, and evaluate their options. I urge RDUAA to evaluate options that prioritize LIMITING the number of gate expansion in the Terminal closest to Umstead State Park.  Thanks to David Morgan who requested outreach to the public during this evaluation process.

    Written by Dr. Jean Spooner, Chair, The Umstead Coalition

    Read the News & Observer coverage here: 

    As demand grows, RDU will present plan to add gates to Terminal 1 in April
  • 01/24/2020 9:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    January 24, 2020:  Memorandum sent to the RDU Airport Authority (RDUAA)

    From: Dr. Jean Spooner, Chair, The Umstead Coalition

    At 3:26pm on Thursday, January 23, 2020 a “Notice of Special Meeting of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Board on January 27, 2020” (at 1pm) was emailed to those who had requested such notices.

    The first stated purpose for this special meeting is: “to consider the Terminal 1 Expansion Program.”

    This “expansion” is likely going to be a staff request to for SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES to the Aeronautical Component(s) of the Vision 2040 Plan ALP (Airport Layout Plan).  In particular, adding a substantial increase in the number of new gates and larger expansion of Terminal 1 than promised under the Vision 2040 public plan.  In addition, potentially moving forward with lengthening the eastern runway.

    These actions, if approved, would SUBSTANTIALLY increase air traffic impacts to William B. Umstead State Park.  The result would be substantial negative impacts to Umstead State Park.

    The current Vision 2040 calls for all but five (5) of the new gates at RDU to be on the WEST side of the airport, and the replacement (and longer runway) to the west to be built BEFORE any lengthening of the runway near Umstead State Park be considered.  Those were the public commitments made under Vision 2040.

    In addition, adding substantially more gates with Terminal 1 expansion (near Umstead State park) than included in the Vision 2040 Plan would be in direct CONFLICT with the recent key recommendation from the RDU Airport Infrastructure Development (AID) Task Force, Regional Transportation Alliance that recommends terminal expansion on the WEST side of the airport, away from Umstead State Park (http://letsgetmoving.org/RDUAID), specifically, the RDU Task Force recommendation sates:

    “Consider creation of a new “terminal 3” – north of terminal 2, away from Umstead State Park”

    Please consider your RDU Task Force recommendation, solicit public input, then consider alternatives first - prior to considering such major changes in Vision 2040 ALP that would increase the detrimental impacts on William B. Umstead State Park, a Park since 1934 and a 4(f) property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Download a PDF of the email here.

  • 01/24/2020 1:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is major  change to the Vision 2040 Master plan.  All without public input, the RDUAA want to: dramatically increase the number gates and terminal size on the east, Umstead State Park side, and move forward  first to  lengthening of the eastern runway.

    Please attend this meeting on Monday, January 27, 2020 at 1pm.

    https://www.rdu.com/airport-authority/meetings/

  • 01/17/2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Regional Transportation Alliance RDU Airport Infrastructure Development (AID) Task Force released its preliminary findings on January 17, 2020. Their main point was to recommend a total revamp of RDU's land use plan - with appreciation to Umstead State Park!

    Here are their Airport Land Use Recommendations

    • RDU property is a valuable resource that should be managed to generate revenue for the airport
    • RDU has the responsibility to leverage its property for compatible and complementary uses Create RDU Real Estate Master Plan with specific timelines, financial requirements; Hire master developer to review entire airport for strategic development opportunities
    • Consider creation of a new “terminal 3” – north of terminal 2, away from Umstead State Park Terminal 3 could be primarily focused on expanded international service offerings; Offer airlines opportunity to build, fund, and operate terminal 3 – and share in capacity risk
    • RDU could consider relocating crosswind (14-32) runway; evaluate compatible uses of that land
    • RDU could do a value engineering review of entire 2040 master plan to build regional goodwill
    • The situation surrounding RDU’s lands and adjacent Umstead Park has been a costly distraction RDU should revisit entire 2040 master plan given the reality of an adjacent, beloved state park
    •  RDU may not be a natural partner with Umstead, but it needs to become one – and vice versa Ask NC DNCR to authorize mountain biking in Umstead State Park at an appropriate location
    Read the full report and the task force's recommendations here.

The Umstead Coalition

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