Press Release

RDU Fence Project would be disastrous but Wiley believes a solution is in sight

Office of Senator Wiley Nickel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27th, 2020

Senator Nickel stands in support of a solution to the planned RDU Fence Project issue involving sale of land for trails.

RALEIGH, NC – Senator Wiley Nickel, State Senator for the 16th Senate District (Cary, Morrisville & NW Raleigh), is supporting efforts to find a solution involving the sale of land for trails as an alternative to an expensive and unnecessary fence at RDU owned lands by the Umstead State Park. He believes that, in order to ensure long-term viability and harm to the environment, this trails-based solution must exclude funds relating to quarrying, saying:

“According to RDU Airport plans, Umstead State Park trails could soon be overshadowed by a tall, barbed-wire fence if the Airport and outside entities fail to reach an agreement for purchase of the land.”

The $2.4 million fencing project originally proposed by the Airport would cut straight through Old Reedy Creek Multi-Use Trail, forcing a taxpayer-funded reroute. To the south of this intersection, the barbed wire fence would track alongside the trail for miles, clear-cutting age-old woods and severely impacting wetlands, creeks and a lake. Such a fence would disincentivize locals from utilizing the Old Reedy Creek entrance to Umstead State Park, wasting significant funds spent by the Town of Cary to develop facilities and parking on Old Reedy Creek Road.

However, an alternative exists to this fencing project. Instead of building a redundant fence to keep the public out of lands used for mountain biking for decades without incident, the Airport could sell the land to an outside entity, such as the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR), for the purpose of mountain biking and hiking trails. Further, the sale of this land would bring greater funding to RDU, a stark contrast to the, at minimum, 2.4 million dollar publicly-paid cost of a fence.

Senator Nickel said, “Allowing locals to continue using the 286 trails in a formal capacity would empower local governments and businesses to advertise greater recreational opportunities in the region, mitigate any liability concerns the Airport may have, and avoid the imposition of an unsightly fence along the border of a beloved State Park.”

Senator Nickel added: “We need to protect the Umstead State Park. The RDU Airport Authority needs to work to secure the sale of the “286” area for recreational usage. We have a moral imperative to leave a better world for our children and to protect the Umstead State Park for future generations.”

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