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Ecology

Ecology

Get plant and animal checklists at the park office.

Relics of the past are still found throughout William B. Umstead State Park. The land was once shaped and altered to develop home sites, roadbeds, and agricultural fields. Following designation as a park, young forests returned and recreational facilities were added.

The past continues to influence the park’s ecology. The stone dams of grist mills held back sediments and shaped the stream bank. Roadbeds remain marked in the landscape. And ornamental plants continue to endure amidst the forest.

When the land was settled, the residing families subsequently introduced ornamental plant species into their landscapes. While the plants provided enjoyment and aesthetics, many were non-native and invasive. Once the park was established, these species were left unabated and continued to grow with an impact on native vegetation. The prevalence of non-native plants and their affect on the ecology can still be seen within the park.

The change in land use from farm to forest has allowed signs of lasting human impacts to converge with elements of the natural world. Demonstrating the ways state parks preserve the marks of history as well as the natural ecosystems.

Unique flora and fauna native to North Carolina can be found throughout the park. The varying forest types provide habitat for beavers, raccoons, deer, and a multitude of bird species. Belted kingfishers and great blue herons are commonly seen near streams and lakes. A variety of trees, shrubs, ferns and wildflowers offer beauty in the midst of every season.

Management of the park includes preserving the native ecosystems and natural areas. The Piedmont Beech Natural Area, a 50-acre tract of towering beech trees, has been included in the National Registry of Natural Landmarks. The tract exemplifies a forest type found in the piedmont prior to development. Due to the sensitive nature of the area, access is allowed only by permit. Crabtree Shrub Slopes Natural Area contains shrub species uncommon in the piedmont region including rhododendron and laurel. Access is available from Company Mill Trail.

The park continues to provide a view into North Carolina’s unique flora and fauna. And many visitors find there is reason to return, within each season and in each year, the park’s ecology shows traces of change.


8801 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27617

919-571-4170
william.umstead@ncparks.gov

 

Map of North Carolina

GPS: 35.8905, -78.7502

 

8801 Glenwood Ave. entrance

  • November to February:
    7:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    7:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • May to August:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • September to October:
    7:00am to 8:00pm

Closed Christmas Day

The gate at Crabtree Creek opens at 7 a.m. daily as part of a pilot program to allow early access to the trails system.

1800 N. Harrison Ave. entrance

  • November to February:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    8:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • May to August:
    8:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • September to October:
    8:00am to 8:00pm

Closed Christmas Day

VISITOR CENTER:

8:00am to 5:00pm daily

Closed Christmas Day

EXHIBIT HALL inside visitor center:

9:00am to 4:30pm

Closed Christmas Day

Tent and trailer family campground open
April 1 to November 1

  • April:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • May to August:
    7:00am to 10:00pm
     
  • September to October:
    7:00am to 9:00pm

Closed Christmas Day

Campers: Please note that once the campground gates close, they are locked until the park reopens the following day. There will be no entry or exit permitted, except for law enforcement or medical emergencies.