June 17, 2021

Town of Garner, North Carolina Purchases Land for New Park, Trails and Watershed Protection

GARNER, N.C. — Today, the Town of Garner and The Conservation Fund announced the purchase of 86.5 acres of undeveloped wetlands and open space for future public access and the protection of drinking water resources.

Located southeast of U.S. Highway 401 S and near other permanently protected lands owned by the City of Raleigh, Wake County and the Town, the acquired property borders a major tributary to Swift Creek, which is part of the Lake Benson watershed, a critical source of drinking water supply for Wake County. The site’s wetlands and extensive floodplain provide a naturally vegetated buffer that helps to filter storm water runoff from surrounding upland areas while providing important upland habitat for wildlife.

The Town is eager to add the open space to its park system as part of Garner’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Town officials say the acquisition could make possible the extension of Garner’s greenway system, creating new trails that will connect existing parks and schools throughout southern Wake County.

“As Garner grows, we continue to look for opportunities to preserve open space and to do it in a strategic way based on our long-term planning,” Mayor Ken Marshburn said. “The Council and I were excited to have the opportunity to acquire this acreage because it fits well into our master planning efforts and will allow us to provide nature-oriented recreation opportunities, such as hiking, in the future. This land will be a great asset for residents, and its conservation also will help to protect our local drinking water resources.”

The Town partnered with The Conservation Fund—a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing conservation solutions that deliver both economic and environmental benefits—to purchase six parcels of land totaling 86.5 acres from Kay Boling Singletary.

“This project represents a rare opportunity to conserve a large section of undeveloped land in a rapidly urbanizing area that sits within a critical water supply watershed,” said Bill Holman, The Conservation Fund’s North Carolina State Director. “Land protection efforts like this are key to a comprehensive strategy for clean water and pollution reduction in the Triangle, and we are pleased to work with the Town of Garner to secure this site for future public recreational access and enjoyment.”

This project utilized funds from Raleigh’s Watershed Protection Program through the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative, the Wake County Open Space Bond Program, and the Town of Garner. Additional private-sector support from the Caterpillar Foundation was provided through a new partnership recently created with Conservation Trust for North Carolina to safeguard important local natural lands in North Carolina’s Triangle region through investments in natural infrastructure and land conservation.

“This is an exciting step in providing local watershed protection, and we are thrilled that everyone in the community, including Caterpillar families, will see sustained water quality and avoid nitrogen and phosphorous impacts,” said Asha Varghese, Caterpillar Foundation president. “The Caterpillar Foundation is proud to be a part of this multi-sectoral collaboration as part of our focus on building resilient communities through sustainable infrastructure solutions.”

“We are excited about this project due its proximity to Lake Benson and the opportunity to partner with Wake County and the Town of Garner to protect water quality,” said Ed Buchan, Senior Communications Analyst, City of Raleigh. “Lake Benson helps provide approximately 20% of the drinking water to our 600,000+ customers, so it is critical to protect this natural resource through conservation efforts like this.”

“Wake County’s population continues to grow. With that growth comes the need to protect land that preserves natural resources, wildlife habitat, and historical and cultural properties; protects forest and farmland, scenic landscapes, riparian corridors and water quality; and provides venues for outdoor recreation,” said Chris Snow, Wake County’s Director of Parks, Recreation & Open Space. “This project can do all of these things.”

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 8.5 million acres of land, including nearly 235,000 acres of beloved natural lands across North Carolina.

Media Contacts:
Rick Mercier | Town of Garner | 919-773-4418 | garnerpio@garnernc.gov

Val Keefer | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5802 | vkeefer@conservationfund.org