Save the forested lands near Old Reedy Creek within RDU's project area.
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At the June 28th Public Workshop #7, the Airport’s land use plan was unveiled. This plan slates several forested areas for commercial development (numbers 2, 3, and 4 in the photo above). This development would result in the destruction of irreplaceable, centrally-located forested recreation areas and in the destruction of an important green buffer space between the airport facilities and the very popular Umstead State Park. Ultimately, the destruction of this forested area could negatively affect the hundreds of acres within the Crabtree Creek watershed.
The forested areas marked for development include land directly adjacent to the very popular Umstead State Park and much of the land within Lake Crabtree County Park, the most heavily used park in the Wake County Park system. These lands have approximately 32 miles of existing recreational trails built by local residents and are used by a multitude of people - mountain bikers, hikers, walkers, and runners…both adults and children…groups and individuals. Some of the trails in this forested green space offer beginner, kid-friendly mountain biking and hiking and thus foster family outdoor recreation. These trails are connected to the greenway systems of both Raleigh and Cary. Residents can and do, leave from their homes or workplaces and access these recreation areas without having to drive! This centrally located forested green space serves to greatly increase the quality of life of Triangle residents and loss of this gem would be devastating to the community. Every effort should be made to preserve these valuable and irreplaceable natural areas.
The Airport’s master planning process revealed that none of these lands are required for runways, terminals, parking, or any other facility directly related to passengers or aircraft at the RDU facility. The planners propose to use these lands for the sole purpose of generating revenue for the airport by leasing these lands out to developers to build office space, hotels, and a quarry. For all of these revenue-generating items, alternatives are available, so the destruction of forested recreation space and forested green buffer space to Umstead need not occur. There is no way to replace the land in question if it is given up for commercial or residential development.
Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC) (a 501-(c)(3) organization, www.torc-nc.org ), along with other user groups urges the preservation of all the existing forested lands, trails, and green space between Umstead State Park and up to and including Lake Crabtree County Park. We suggest that the Airport Authority work with surrounding municipalities to investigate the creation of an Urban Trails Center within this property. Such a Center would not only benefit all Triangle residents, but it would also attract visitors. This Urban Trails Center would create business opportunities for new and existing hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, bars, bike shops, and recreation outfitters. The benefits of such a Center to the community in its current and future state (i.e. considering population growth) far outweigh any benefits which might be realized by creating a few new offices, a hotel, and a quarry. The Triangle region should look at the work which has taken place in Richmond, VA, and Chattanooga, TN to preserve trails close to population centers.
We recognize that the RDU Airport is important to our area and has funding challenges it must overcome; however, we believe an Urban Trail Center is a far better solution than the land uses proposed by the Airport’s plan. By working with the surrounding municipalities, TORC firmly believes that we can craft a solution that not only brings necessary revenue to the airport, but also enhances the communities which the airport serves.
We ask that the RDU Airport Authority reconsider the land use portion of the Master Plan which would ultimately destroy the wooded areas of Lake Crabtree County Park and the wooded areas off of Old Reedy Creek Road in between Umstead State Park and Lake Crabtree Count Park.
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