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Sandy Creek Natural Trails – 2016 Durham Open Space and Trails Grant

This project was completed in 2017!  Made possible by the Durham Open Space and Trails Matching grant program and many donors and volunteers.

12/7/2016 UPDATE:

The Neighborhood Challenge has met its goal and the match for the Durham County Matching Grant has been met!


Neighborhood Challenge issued to meet the match!

Dear Neighbors,

We are so close!! You may remember that our goal is $12,000, and as of the last update, we had just over $9,500.  Thanks to a recent donation from Audubon, we are now over $10,000!

To get to the magic goal of $12,000, we have another neighborhood challenge. John and Rita Goebel, along with Bob and Margaret Clemen, are putting up a total of $1000. It’s a challenge match, so as soon as the Durham Parks Foundation (DPF) has received an additional $1000 toward Sandy Creek Park’s Natural Trails project, we will donate that last $1000.

This is a perfect opportunity for you to make a year-end, tax-deductible gift. Here is the link to donate to DPF using Paypal: Be sure to indicate in the “Notes” section of the PayPal form that your gift is for the Sandy Creek Natural Trails project.

By the way, your energy and enthusiasm working on the trails has been terrific! Don’t forget that we have another work party this coming Saturday morning, Dec 3. Thanks for all of your efforts.

Best -- Bob Clemen

Durham Parks Foundation received a Matching Grant from the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission. The goal of this grant will be to substantially improve over one mile of trails in Sandy Creek Park. This grant, funded by the Board of Durham County Commissioners, will enable volunteers to connect the main section of the park to the Garrett Road neighborhoods with an improved natural surface trail. The existing trail is very wet in spots, too steep in places, and is in need of redesigning and improvement. The second trail to be greatly improved is a loop trail around one of the park’s three large ponds. This pond is teaming with wildlife, and the new trail will provide a trail that is safer and more environmentally built to protect the sensitive wetlands.

Since this grant is a matching grant, the Parks Foundation, acting on behalf of the Friends of Sandy Creek Park, needs to raise the equivalent of $18,000 to match the $18,000 provided by the Grant. Some of this will be in volunteer hours, but at least $12,000 of this will need to be in cash.

We intend to significantly improve two of the natural surface trails in the park. The first trail to be improved is the trail from the Sandy Creek Bridge to Church of the Good Shepherd on Garrett Road. Sections of the trail will be rerouted to avoid wet areas, several short boardwalks will be constructed to cross the wettest areas.

The second trail will begin at the current trail to the wildlife observation blind and circle the pond, coming out about midway along the existing paved greenway trail. This trail too will be improved by making sections less steep and adding boardwalks.

The aim of these improvement is to make both of these trails usable in all types of weather and to demonstrate proper trail building methods. Many of the trails in the current Durham Open Space and Trails Master Plan are in areas that are similar to Sandy Creek. The improvements we do here in Sandy Creek Park will showcase the best practices in trail building.

In addition to raising money to match the DOST Grant, we will be looking for volunteers to help with portions of the trail. We have pledged in the grant to do at least 600 hours of volunteer work on these trails.

This is a construction drawing of the two trails to be built. sp2-trail-layout

 To volunteer, please contact John Goebel @

 Durham Parks Foundation (a 501(C)3) was founded in 2015.  Our mission is:  To preserve, strengthen, and enhance parks, trails, open space and recreational opportunities through diverse community involvement, fundraising, partnerships and education. For more information call 919-560-4355.

Please specify "Sandy Creek " with your donation