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WEB EXCLUSIVE Now that it’s no longer 100 degrees outside, its the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the many parks and nature areas we’re so lucky to have in the area. The temperatures dropped to an ideal 75 degrees just in time to enjoy Triangle Land Conservancy‘s (TLC) new Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve which opened to the public on September 21.
“We are so excited to finally open this beautiful preserve and we can’t wait to have the community visit,” said TLC Executive Director Sandy Sweitzer. “Especially during this pandemic and time of physical distancing, we’re thrilled to provide one more outdoor oasis that people can safely enjoy.”
The Triangle Land Conservancy’s eighth nature preserve, Williamson Preserve’s 405 acres features nine miles of walking, running and biking trails in both Wake and Johnston counties that connect to the Neuse River Greenway. TLC purchased the land in 2013 from Bailey and Sarah Williamson’s daughters, which has been in their family for more than 225 years. Their wish was for TLC to conserve the land rather than have it developed.
At Williamson Preserve, TLC is also placing a large focus on using sustainable, regenerative methods. They’ve partnered with Zebulon-based Newbold Farms LLC to raise grass-fed cattle on the property and with NC State’s Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Wake County and others to bring more farmers to the preserve, with the goal of eventually offering fresh produce for purchase.
TLC is also working with the UNC Community Histories Workshop to share more about the history of the preserve, its land and the Williamson family, as well as information on the Tuscarora Tribe, plantation and tobacco farming, and Black rural land ownership in the area through signage at the preserve.
“It’s important to acknowledge that land ownership—even TLC’s—is rooted in systematic racism,” said Sweitzer. “This community, like most in North Carolina, has a complicated past. TLC hopes that as a public nature preserve all members of our community will be able to safely get out and explore and enjoy this site.”
Williamson Preserve’s trails can be accessed via the Neuse River Greenway or at the parking lot at 4409 Mial Plantation Road in Raleigh. The closest Neuse River Greenway access parking lot is 6090 Mial Plantation Road, Raleigh NC 27610.
For a trail map, preserve rules and more information, visit triangleland.org/williamson.
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