In 2018, voters passed a $120 million Parks, Greenways Recreation and Open Space bond. Learn about current projects and progress that's been made so far.
This 150-acre property known as “286,” located between Umstead State Park and Lake Crabtree County Park, is being leased by Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space as of Jan. 1, 2023. Master planning on trails will take place soon.
Beech Bluff County Park
Beech Bluff County Park is planned for the southeast corner of Wake County adjacent to the towns of Garner and Fuquay-Varina. The park property is made up of several parcels of land totaling approximately 300 acres. While a portion of the land adjacent to Highway 42 is actively farmed, the majority of the park contains undeveloped forests, wetlands, stream channels, floodplains and rock outcrops, all of which support a diverse ecosystem and help protect critical natural resources. Learn more.
This three-generation family farm and woodland sanctuary has much to offer in natural beauty, wildlife habitat and sustainable, educational agriculture. The 59 acre property is located in east-central Wake County, near the border between Raleigh and Knightdale. The property was donated to Wake County with a conservation easement, which means the land is legally limited to certain uses that support conservation values such as open space, scenic views, habitat and watershed protection, preservation of rural character and agricultural production. Learn more. En Español.
Lake Myra County Park
Lake Myra is a new park location currently being developed by Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space. The 220-acre park will be located along Poole Road, north of the intersection of Poole Road and Lake Myra Road. Learn more.
Little River, Buffalo Creek, and Swift Creek have been identified as potential nature preserves. Learn more about the planning process.
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. This project will complete concept plans for each potential preserve in 4-6 months. Each concept plan will focus on exploring core programming ideas to be developed on the site, including opportunities, constraints, and connections. 2018 Parks, Recreation, Greenway, and Open Space bond funding is used produce three concept plans for nature preserves.
BUFFALO CREEK NATURE PRESERVE
Buffalo Creek Nature Preserve protects just over 900 acres of blackwater cypress swamp and adjacent upland habitat along Buffalo Creek in eastern Wake County. 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.
The preserve represents an expansion of Robertson Millpond Preserve and serves to balance habitat protection, land management and recreational access to provide unique nature experiences for all to enjoy. Recreational opportunities may include 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.
The preserve’s vision includes a carefully sited, multiuse greenway to connect the local community with a network of protected lands, including connections to Sandy Pines Preserve, the future Little River Preserve and Wendell.
SWIFT CREEK NATURE PRESERVE
Swift Creek Nature Preserve lies along the Swift Creek corridor from Lake Wheeler to Lake Benson. The preserve aims to protect the corridor’s natural resources while offering the community access to nature and recreation opportunities.
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. The preserve’s trails will complement the future Swift Creek Greenway, which is planned to connect to the Cary and Garner greenway systems as well as surrounding residential communities.
The corridor includes over 2,800 acres of land owned by Wake County, Town of Garner, City of Raleigh and conservation easements on privately held land.
LITTLE RIVER NATURE PRESERVE
Little River Nature Preserve, from U.S. 64 to the Franklin County line, encompasses approximately 3,700 acres of wetlands, vast open fields and forested areas. Little River is envisioned as a future City of Raleigh drinking water reservoir.
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.
The preserve will seek greenway connections to Zebulon, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Sandy Pines Preserve and the future Buffalo Creek Nature Preserve. Several points of access will be included to accommodate the communities surrounding the area, as well as make it easier for users to reach their favorite destination hubs.
Swift Creek Greenway
Swift Creek Greenway will be a multi-use greenway linking Cary, Raleigh, and Garner following the Swift Creek. This project will complete 100% design of the Swift Creek corridor between Lake Wheeler and Lake Benson, which could lead to future state or federal grant funding opportunities. Estimated timeframe to complete design is between 18-24 months.
The greenway was originally master planned in 2006 and updated in 2016 prior to the 2018 Parks, Greenways, Recreation and Open Space Bond.
In 2018, voters passed a $120 million Parks, Greenways, Recreation and Open Space bond that provides funding for most county park and preserve projects. Learn more about Bonds & County Debt.