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The Umstead Coalition 
Celebrating Umstead State Park since 1934!


  • 06/22/2020 5:10 PM | Anonymous

    Letter from Wake Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee to the Wake County Board of Commissioners on June, 22, 2020.

    Download a PDF of the letter here.

  • 06/19/2020 5:02 PM | Anonymous

    Public Hearing Expected to Draw Hundreds Supporting William B. Umstead State Park

    Raleigh, NC - The upcoming public hearing on June 23 for the Wake Stone Corporation Mining Permit application for RDU Quarry has drawn significant attention from the Triangle community. More than twelve hundred public comments have been submitted to NC DEQ’s Division of Energy, Mining, and Land Resources (DEMLR) calling for denial of the permit. 

    “The community outcry has been impressive and sustained“ said Dr. Jean Spooner, Chair of the Umstead Coalition. “Clearly the public does not want to endure the adverse impacts on Umstead State Park, nor the perpetual liability to the public from the first private rock mine to be placed on public property next to a NC State Park.”

    The proposed RDU Quarry would create a new rock mine on the 105 acre, forested Odd Fellows Tract — public land owned by the Cities of Raleigh and Durham and the Counties of Wake and Durham. The new quarry will be over 400 feet deep and adjacent to Umstead State Park, Crabtree Creek, the East Coast Greenway and the popular Old Reedy Creek Road recreational corridor that connects Lake Crabtree County Park to Umstead State Park. 

    With today being the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, the racial history behind the Reedy Creek Park entrance to Umstead State Park at Harrison Avenue should be recognized and appreciated for its important historical significance to the Black community. Until 1968, the Park was segregated and this was the entrance for one of only two state parks for enjoyment by the Black community. Park users today at this specific entrance to Umstead State Park in Cary — now have to avoid truck conflicts from Wake Stone’s Triangle Quarry that would continue with the new proposed quarry.  

    Opponents to the quarry are also concerned about significant environmental harm to Umstead State Park and negative public health impacts on recreational users of the Park and the homeowners along Old Reedy Creek Road. 

    “The Odd Fellows Tract is a forested buffer absorbing pollution from I-40, and protecting Crabtree Creek,” said Liz Adams, Research Associate at the UNC Institute for the Environment. “Drilling, blasting, crushing, and using trucks to haul rocks over Crabtree Creek will create new air pollution (silica dust, NOx) exposures to vulnerable populations including children, elderly, and minorities causing increased risk of premature death for those who use the East Coast Greenway, the Company Mill Trail.

    The Sierra Club Capital Group requested an Environmental Justice Snapshot Report for Mining Permit No. 92-10 due to the disproportionate impact that this permit modification will have on minority and vulnerable users of Umstead State Park, including its extensive youth outreach programs.” 

    The Umstead Coalition and other environmental and recreational organizations are calling for supporters of Umstead State Park and advocates for preserving the land to attend the virtual public hearing on June 23, 2020 at 6 p.m. This is the last chance for the public to speak, please register and attend. Details for the virtual public hearing can be found on the DEQ website

    About The Umstead Coalition

    The Umstead Coalition has been working since 1972 to support and protect William B. Umstead State Park through fundraising, sponsorship of volunteer activities, and oversight of environmental and legal protections:

    ####  END ###

    Download a PDF of the Press Release here.

  • 06/09/2020 4:29 PM | Anonymous

    View the recording of our live podcast and video interview with The Triangle Talk Show.

    We’re excited to announce we’ll be doing a live podcast and video interview on The Triangle Talk Show today, June 9 at 7 p.m. ET. It will be an action-packed conversation! We'll be talking about:

    • The RDU Quarry Public Hearing on June 23 — this may be one of the last public comment opportunities to stop the quarry
    • The Sunset Clause that was removed from the current Wake Stone mining permit, which would've closed the existing Triangle Quarry in 2031
    • The Conservation Fund's offer to purchase the land to add new single-track biking and pedestrian trails
    • Environmental and wildlife impacts including air and water quality degradation
    • The RDU Fence that will cross Halley's Branch and run along the East Coast Greenway and Umstead State Park's multi-use trail
    • How this quarry is more than just a local Triangle issue, but one that affects all of North Carolina and sets a new precedent for how public lands are handled in the state


    • Jean Spooner: Chair, The Umstead Coalition
    • Gil Johnson: Board member, The Umstead Coalition
    • David Anderson: Board member, Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC)
    • Liz Adams: Former vice-chair, Capital Group Sierra Club and Research Associate at the UNC Institute for the Environment


    About The Triangle Talk Show

    The Triangle Talk Show is an audio podcast, available on most podcast apps, including Tune-In and Spotify. The recording, show notes and links will be available at

  • 06/01/2020 4:22 PM | Anonymous

    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 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


    Cisco WebEx Link

    Meeting Number (Access Code): 617 499 551

    Meeting Password: DEQ123


    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 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.

  • 05/13/2020 1:38 PM | Anonymous

    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

    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

    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

    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. 


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


    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.


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


  • 02/03/2020 12:01 PM | Anonymous

    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.


    Robert C. Hinson, Chair

    Wake County Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee


    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

    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

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.