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Opponents of Proposed Quarry in Wake County Appeal Court Ruling

William B. Umstead State Park spans nearly 6,000 acres across the cities of Raleigh, Cary and Durham. (Wikimedia Commons)
William B. Umstead State Park spans nearly 6,000 acres across the cities of Raleigh, Cary and Durham. (Wikimedia Commons)
December 12, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. - A local group opposed to the construction of a rock quarry adjacent to Umstead State Park in Wake County is appealing a Superior Court's decision.

The judge ruled that the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority was within its bounds to grant Wake Stone Corp. rights to mine on airport land.

Jean Spooner, who chairs The Umstead Coalition, says the quarry is a threat to public land.

"There's a proposed rock mine to be 400 feet deep, next to William B. Umstead State Park, one of our most visited state parks, on public lands that are owned by four local governments and deeded to the four local governments, and managed by the RD Airport Authority," she points out.

In addition to the Umstead Coalition, the plaintiffs appealing the court's ruling include the mountain biking organization Triangle Off-Road Cyclists, as well as private landowners.

Spooner says destroying the heavily forested area situated near the park would irreversibly affect Umstead's delicate ecosystem. She adds that conservationists will keep fighting.

"To protect the sensitive watershed of Crabtree Creek, which is in the Neuse River Basin, and also to add mountain bike trails for William B. Umstead State Park," she stresses.

Spooner says the outcome of the legal battle could have statewide ripple effects.

"Think of the precedent of the private destruction of our public lands, with a private rock mine and for a use that could never be reclaimed for public purposes," she states.

Umstead State Park includes a 50-acre tract of old growth beech trees and is home to a multitude of wildlife species and plants native to North Carolina.

Reporting by North Carolina News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the Park Foundation

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC