Raleigh, N.C. — The Triangle Land Conservancy’s newest nature preserve, the Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve, is now open.
The 405-acre property, at 4409 Mial Plantation Rd., Raleigh, offers nine miles of walking and biking trails that connect to the Neuse River Greenway. It’s the eighth nature preserve for the Triangle Land Conservancy, a nonprofit that works to conserve land in the Triangle.
“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 in a pres release. “Especially during this pandemic and time of physical distancing, we’re thrilled to provide one more outdoor oasis that people can safely enjoy.”
Check out this quick video showcasing this beautiful spot …
The Williamson Preserve is the first of the nonprofit’s nature preserves to include working farms on the site.
Newbold Farms LLC raises grass-fed cattle on the property, and Raleigh-based arborist Leaf & Limb has launched Project Pando, a volunteer-driven farm that grows native trees that will be given to the public for free, according to the press release. The nonprofit also is working with N.C. State’s Center for Environmental Farming Systems to bring other farmers to the preserve. The goal is to give visitors a place to walk or bike and then buy fresh produce, according to the release.
At the preserve, signage shares more about the history of the farm, which was owned by the Williamson family for more than 225 years, along with information about the Tuscarora tribe, plantation cotton and tobacco farming, Black rural land ownership and land conservation. More information will come about the people who lived and worked on the land, particularly about the Indigenous people who first lived in the area and the Black families who were forced into enslavement and later farmed the area, according to the press release.
“It’s important to acknowledge that land ownership — even TLC’s — is rooted in systemic racism. This community, like most in North Carolina, has a complicated past,” Sweitzer said in the press release. “TLC is committed to recognizing this history and the harm that has been inflicted on Black, Brown and Indigenous communities in the U.S. because of plantation agriculture, and later, because of land conservation. TLC hopes that as a public nature preserve, that all members of our community will be able safely get out and explore and enjoy this site.”
More information about the Williamson Preserve is on the Triangle Land Conservancy’s website. Note that the trails are closed after rain, so if it’s rainy, check to make sure it’s open before you go. When you’re there, the nonprofit asks that you maintain a social distance from others and avoid overcrowding the parking lot. We wrote about the nonprofit’s other nature preserves earlier this year.