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Monday, October 2, 2023

Residents Invited to Help Shape New Wake County Nature Preserves

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Wake County North Carolina
Wake County North Carolina
Wake County is located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of July 1, 2019, the population was 1,111,761, making it North Carolina's most populous county as well as the most populous county in the Carolinas. From July 2005 to July 2006, Wake County was the 9th fastest-growing county in the United States, with the town of Cary and the city of Raleigh being the 8th and 15th fastest-growing cities, respectively. Its county seat is Raleigh, which is also the state capital. Eleven other municipalities are in Wake County, the largest of which is Cary, the third largest city of the Research Triangle region and the seventh largest municipality in North Carolina.

Photo by Pixabay

Wake County is in the process of planning three new nature preserves – and we need residents’ help to make the most of these open spaces.

  • Little River in northeastern Wake County is almost 3,700 acres of wetlands, vast open fields and forested area. With diverse vegetation and topography, the site offers a variety of recreation and environmental education opportunities while preserving sensitive habitats and ecosystems. Activities may include mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, wildlife observation and horseback riding.
  • Buffalo Creek, located in eastern Wake County, includes just over 900 acres of blackwater cypress swamp and adjacent upland habitat. This natural heritage blackwater cypress swamp is the only habitat of this type in Wake County and features flora and fauna more common to the coastal plain. Representing an expansion of Robertson Millpond Preserve, this preserve could feature hiking trails, accessible paths, kayak launch and rental facilities, group camping area, mountain bike trails, fishing pond, day use picnic areas, demonstration prairie, wildlife viewing platforms, nature play and learning opportunities.
  • Swift Creek is in southern Wake County and includes about 2,800 acres of land owned by municipalities (Cary, Garner and Raleigh). The nature preserve is wooded and includes significant wetlands, floodplain and wildlife habitat. The natural surface trails provide opportunities for hiking, walking, environmental education, birdwatching and wildlife overlooks.
    “This is an exciting opportunity to play an active role in the future of three nature preserves that residents and visitors will enjoy for years to come,” said Sig Hutchinson, chair, Wake County Board of Commissioners. “This is another example of the county’s commitment to protecting our beautiful, natural spaces and providing recreational opportunities for all. I encourage everyone to take part in the planning process.”

How to participate

Residents interested in helping to guide the preserves’ development can attend one of two community meetings. Drop in any time to find out what’s possible and share your thoughts on what you’d like to see – from horseback riding and mountain biking to hiking and birding. Conceptual designs will be available to view, and staff and consultants will be on hand to answer any questions.

Wednesday, July 20
4-7 p.m.
Wendell Town Hall
15 E. 4th St., Wendell, NC 27591

Thursday, July 21
4-7 p.m.
White Deer Park Nature Center
2400 Aversboro Road, Garner, NC 27529

Staff and consultants will use feedback from the meetings to help shape the initial design concept of each preserve, which will be presented to the Wake County Board of Commissioners for review.

Commitment to open space

Nature preserves are minimally developed to provide limited passive recreation opportunities, such as hiking, paddling and horseback riding, while protecting significant natural resources and/or habitats.

Wake County began acquiring open space in 2000 with the goal of protecting and conserving land and water resources for current residents and future generations. To date, the county has acquired or assisted in the acquisition of 8,486 acres.

Funding from the 2018 Parks, Recreation, Greenway, and Open Space voter-approved bond will be used to produce the concept plans for these preserves.

Learn more at wakegov.com/HelpPlanPreserves.


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