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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.

Contact:

William B. Umstead State Park

8801 Glenwood Avenue
RaleighNC 27617
Phone919-571-4170
Our Email william.umstead@ncparks.gov, Our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/williamumsteadstatepark/, Our Twitter Page https://twitter.com/umsteadstprk, Our Instagram Page https://www.instagram.com/williamumsteadstatepark/
Latitude: 35.890500
Longitude: -78.750200

Park Hours:

The gate at the Crabtree Creek entrance will open at 7am daily as part of a pilot program to allow early access to the trails system. From March 15th through December 1st, the family campground gate will remain open an additional hour after the park closes so those campers have access in and out the park during that time. 

Crabtree Creek Entrance:
November-February: 7am - 6pm
March, April, September, October: 7am - 8pm
May - August: 7am - 9pm
Closed Christmas Day

Reedy Creek Entrance:
November - February: 8:00am - 6pm
March, April, September, October: 8:00am - 8pm
May - August: 8:00am - 9pm
Closed Christmas Day

William B. Umstead main park gates are closed and locked promptly at posted closing time. No entry or exit is permitted after this time except for law enforcement or medical emergencies.

Park Office/Visitor Center
8am - 5pm
Closed Christmas Day

Exhibit Hall
Located in the Visitor Center
January - December, 9am - 4:30pm
Closed Christmas Day

Boathouse (canoe and row boat rental)
Weekends, beginning the first weekend in May through September. 
Saturday & Sunday: 8:30am - 4:30pm (last boat goes out at 3:30pm).

Tent and Trailer Family Campground
Season of Operation: March 15th - December 1st