As the state DOT prepares to pave Graylyn Drive — a short gravel road that dead-ends at a locked maintenance gate to Umstead State Park — the state Division of Parks and Recreation said today it is considering new Umstead access options that include unlocking that gate and turning Graylyn into a new park entrance. [9/12/8 update: see today's N&O story and map.]
Graylyn became popular in recent years as a parking spot for hikers and bikers who used it for quick access to the park's bridle/bike trails that start near Graylyn. DOT said last year it would pave the road ("Umstead paving plan means a parking ban"), and it posted "No Parking" signs to get rid of the cars that sometimes lined both sides on weekends.
Park users protested that the DOT move eliminated easy access for many people, especially on workdays and before and after park opening hours. Graylyn is a few minutes away from the park's formal north entrance off Glenwood Avenue, but the parking lots and trailheads are located a few miles down bumpy gravel roads inside the park.
[Update 6:30pm Thursday] Get official description and maps here or at the Umstead visitor center. Div of Parks and Rec wants public comment by Oct. 10 only on the three alternatives A, B and C.
Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to:
William B. Umstead State Park
8801 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27617
Here are the three options to improve Umstead (see park planning area map) access:
Alternative A: No change. (See Alternative A map.)
Alternative B: Improve access to the trailheads via the existing entrance road from Glenwood Avenue. Pave and widen the one-mile gravel road leading to the trailhead parking lot. (See Alternative B map.)
Alternative C: Open the maintenance gate to make Graylyn a new unpaved entrance road to the trailhead parking area. Access from the Glenwood entrance road to the trailhead parking lot would be cut off, to block through-traffic. (See Alternative C map.)