The Umstead Coalition
Dedicated to the appreciation, use, and preservation of the William B. Umstead State Park and the Richland Creek natural area

Current Projects by The Umstead Coalition include:

Forested Rain Gardens / Bioretention Areas at the main parking lot at the Reedy Creek Park Entrance

Forested rain gardens in the parking lot medians at the Reedy Creek Park entrance (accessed off of Harrison Avenue and I-40).  I

We are pleased to announce that we have secured all the funding and are a 'go.'  We have just received a $25,000 grant from Triangle Community Foundation.  This project has been made possible with a grant from Triangle Community Foundation'Support for Places: Environmental Conservation Public Benefit program."  We also previously received a $10,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Community Grant program.

Construction will occur in the winter of 2015-2016.

This project has numerous partners.  NCSU Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Stormwater Group (Dr. Hunt and Andrew Anderson) have installed a rain gauge and a runoff monitoring system.  Runoff and rainfall data have been collected continuously on 2-minute intervals since February 5, 2015, downloaded by Umstead Coalition volunteers.  NCSU Engineers are designing the rain gardens and will assist with construction oversight, as well as outreach to stormwater professionals.  Grant and donation funding has been secured from the Triangle Community Foundation'Support for Places: Environmental Conservation Public Benefit program, local Wells Fargo Community Grant program, Wake Stone Quarry, Great Outdoor Provision Company, individual donations to The Umstead Coalition.  Mitch Woodward with Wake County Cooperative Extension Service will assist with construction oversight and provide extensive community outreach. Umstead State Park staff are taking a key role in project approvals, construction, maintenance and community outreach.

We will also call for volunteers to help with spreading of the top mulch and plantings.

This project should result in several environmental and user benefits, including:  reduced runoff volume and intensity of stormwater runoff due to the infiltration into special soil media we will install in the medians.  The trees and shrubs will provide much needed shade in the hot, steamy parking lot.  The shade to reduce the thermal impact to the downgradiant streams. 

Details:  We will install innovative stormwater BMP of forested bioretention cells (rain gardens) within a 210 space parking lot median at William B. Umstead State Park. The parking area that will drain to the stormwater control measure is 1.3 acres. The impervious area is 1 acre; the two center medians area are 0.3 acres. We will install 2 large bioretention cells in the northern halves of each of the center two medians. Each of the two cells will be in the median space of 18 feet wide by 180 feet long (the entire median length is 360 feet, plus the end islands).Each cell will be retrofit with 3 feet of sandy loam engineered media, a 6-inch layer of washed stone, and underdrains to convey treated stormwater. The surface will be topped with 2-3 inches of triple-shredded hardwood mulch and planted with trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials.

Two innovative features: 1) trees to provide shade, whose survival will be improved by an 2) internal water storage zone created by 90-degree elbows in the underdrain, which will improve nitrogen treatment and increase total annual volume reduction.

A key focus will be planting of native trees, complemented by an understory of other native vegetation that can survive in a combination of wet and droughty periods. Tree species planted: water oak (Quercus nigra) (fast growing oak species) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) (slower growing, with stunning fall colors). Understory trees and bushes will include:  dogwood (Cornus florida) and beauty berry (Callicarpa americana). Native grasses will include switch grass (Panicum virgatum) and river oats (Chasmanthium latifolium). As overstory tree canopy closes, shade will limit native grass growth but not understory tree and shrub growth.

Additional Information:

Site location and Design Schematics

Butterfly wildflower gardens

We plan install two butterfly wildflower gardens to provide habitat or “Monarch Way stations for migrating Monarch butterflies.  William B. Umstead State Park is the migration route of the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). 

Two small sites have been identified for the butterfly wildflower gardens along the most popular walking route from the parking lot to the bathhouse and picnic areas. High visibility to the majority of visitors will enable encouragement to create Monarch butterfly habitat in their yards as well.

The installation of the Monarch butterfly gardens will be concurrent with the forest rain garden installation.

Cedar Ridge Mulit-use Trail Major Renovations

The Umstead Coalition has received a grant from the National Recreational Trails Program for a grant to facilitate a major reroute and renovation of the Cedar Ridge Mulit-use Trail.

Cedar Ridge Multi-Use Trail is a 1.4 mile long old gravel road trail within William B. Umstead State Park.  This project will be to upgrade Cedar Ridge Trail to current multi-use trail standards being used in the rest of the park.  One mile of trail will be improved by simple additions of grade reversals and rolling dips, water turnouts to minimize erosion, and granite screenings to the top surface.  This will reduce the slope on this trail section less than 10%.  There is a 0.4 mile section of trail that travels down a steep slope (20-30% slope) (the eastern sections of the trail). This section will benefit from adding a major reroute (3,850 feet of new trail) around steep peaks and allow for a much more gradual tread slope.  The new sections of trail should be constructed as a bench cut type trail to allow the trail to shed water and reduce erosion.  The trail reroute will decrease tread slope, improve drainage, improve surface, and provide for a more sustainable trail. The new rerouted trail will be 8-9’ wide with 4” compacted ABC base and 2” compacted screenings. 

We anticipate construction in the late fall/winter of 2016-2017.  We have selected Native Trails, Inc to do the design and construction. We will utilize volunteers to help with trail renovations and reclaiming the abandoned trail sections. 

If you have comments or suggestions about this project, please email us at:

Sycamore Mess Hall Restoration

The Umstead Coalition has received grant funding from REI.  Along with other partners that include:  Great Outdoor Provision Company, NC Road Runners Club, and many volunteers, we are bringing this historic Mess Hall back to life after 30 years of non-use.
The Umstead Coalition is dedicated to the appreciation, use, and preservation of the William B. Umstead State Park and the Richland Creek Natural Area.
The Umstead Coalition, PO Box 10654, Raleigh, NC  27605 (919) 852-2268   
e-mail  info{@}    Twitter @UmstdCoalition
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software