In September, 2008, William B. Umstead State Park staff and planners for the Division of Parks and Recreation developed three alternatives in response to concerns about access to hiking, biking and equestrian trails surrounding the Sycamore day use/trailhead area and near Graylyn Drive and Ebenezer Church Road.
DOT paving of Graylyn Drive and restrictions on parking there effectively restricted access to the park's hiking/biking trail system for some visitors. However, heavy vehicle access at what was intended to be a neighborhood pedestrian entrance resulted in problems with traffic flow, litter, other inappropriate activity and unauthorized, after-hours entry to the park.
The alternative plans are described below along with links to maps in pdf format.
Public comment on the alternative plans was accepted through Oct. 10, 2008. A total 249 responses were sent to the Division of Parks and Recreation.
Continue with the existing access and parking facilities now in place within the park on the assumption that access and parking are adequate for park visitation and that additional infrastructure could have a negative impact on natural resource protection in the Sycamore trailhead area and traffic flow in adjacent neighborhoods.
Widen and pave the existing road (from US 70 entrance) from its intersection near the Maple Hill Lodge to the parking area at the Sycamore day use area and improve the parking area. This would require one mile of new pavement, and the last 0.3 miles would be widened for two-way traffic. Equestrian vehicle parking would be separated from other day use vehicle parking. A new, multi-use trail segment would connect the parking area to the existing trail system. This is the current approach outlined in an existing draft management plan.
Create a new entrance at the end of Graylyn Drive onto a gravel road leading to the existing Sycamore day use/trailhead area. The existing gravel road from Maple Hill Lodge to the Sycamore area (accessible from US 70) would be closed to park visitors to eliminate a route for through traffic in the park. The US 70 entrance would continue to provide access to the visitor center, picnic grounds, Big Lake, the group camps and other sections of the park's trail system. The new Graylyn Drive entrance would be operated and patrolled in the same manner as the Crabtree Creek and Reedy Creek entrances.