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The Umstead Coalition 
Celebrating Umstead State Park since 1934!


  • 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
  • 01/24/2020 9:10 PM | Anonymous

    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 (, 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

    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.

  • 01/17/2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    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.
  • 01/16/2020 10:38 PM | Anonymous

    Written by Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch - January 16, 2020

    The RDU Airport Authority today delayed a vote on an 8-foot high, 8.3-mile fence that would cut through parts of Umstead Park, after meeting with state parks officials who have serious reservations about the project.

    The Authority has proposed building the security fence, which would be topped with three rows of barbed wire.

    It would abut parts of the Reedy Creek Multi-Use Trail, bisecting it in two places. The trail  is used by tens of thousands of hikers, cyclists and equestrians every year. The fence’s purpose is to keep trespassers off airport property, which intersects with the park.

    Bill Sandifer, the Authority’s chief operating officer, told the board that the airport would be seeking a “compromise” to the fence.

    “There’s more conversation to be had,” Sandifer said. “We’re taking a short pause. But the fence isn’t going away. We have needs on that side of the airport.”

    Continue reading the article at NC Policy Watch.

  • 01/16/2020 12:33 AM | Anonymous

    On Thursday, January 16, 2020, NC State Parks gave an offer to RDUAA to buy Tract 286 and add it to Umstead State Park. The RDUAA did not accept their offer. 

    NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Chief Deputy Secretary D. Reid Wilson said in the letter:

    "However, a fence as proposed presents multiple problems for the park and its users: 

    • The proposed fence would bisect the park's popular "Reedy Creek Multi-Use Trail in two places; the trail is used by tens of thousands hikers, cyclists and equestrians every year, and it would be far too expensive for the park to move the trail;
    • By creating a permanent eyesore and marring the look and "feel" of the park, the proposed park would greatly harm a fundamental purpose of the park, namely to provide public access to a natural setting for people to enjoy nature and improve their physical and mental health; 
    • The degradation of the visitor experience would likely create among trail users a negative impression of the airport; 
    • Because the proposed fence would cross four large streams, 19 small streams, and 29 temporary streams or ditches, it would damage stream banks, wetlands, and water quality downstream in Umstead Park;
    • The proposed fence would block movements of wildlife, effectively trapping them between airport fences;
    • The proposed fence may constitute an adverse effect to the park's status on the National Register of Historic Places, which could trigger review and requirements under federal or state law"

    Read the full NC State Parks letter to RDU here

  • 01/01/2020 8:47 PM | Jean Spooner (Administrator)

    Available for just $10 at the Umstead State Park Visitor Center and Great Outdoor Provision Co (Cameron Village).

  • 09/19/2019 6:58 PM | Jean Spooner (Administrator)

    NC Senator Wiley Nickel made a big announcement on September 19, 2019 on his Facebook page:

    “We need to protect the Umstead State Park and stop the RDU Quarry.

    I have no control over the Raleigh City Council and the decisions they make. However, as a State Senator I do have influence over the response from the State of North Carolina.

    In the event that the lawsuit goes as expected my office has lined up multiple sources of revenue for RDU and will present the airport with a Plan B for their consideration. My plan would allow RDU to get paid the same amount of money they would have received under the Wake Stone lease as long as they keep this land intact and dedicated to nature. This beautiful land should be preserved for ALL Wake county residents, our children, their children and so on.

    I want to leave our kids a legacy that includes more park land and open space, not a 400 foot hole in the ground.”

The Umstead Coalition

We are 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.