Neuse River Corridor Master Plan

The master plan for the Neuse River Corridor has two components: a Conceptual Framework and a Corridor Master Plan. The Conceptual Framework identifies general strategies and basic principles and outlines the broadest spectrum of opportunity. The Corridor Master Plan builds upon the Conceptual Framework to identify a specific strategy for linking flood plain and key upland sites into a regional-scale park. Together these plans identify both the range of opportunity and the advantages of a focused strategy.

Conceptual Framework 

Clearly, there is no better time than the present to develop a strategy and adopt a Master Plan to preserve the outstanding natural resource, open space and recreational opportunities existing in the Neuse River Corridor. The City of Raleigh's Comprehensive Plan of 1989 envisioned a Neuse River Corridor Regional Park. The Neuse River Corridor Master Plan Committee worked with the planning team to develop a master plan to implement the original vision. This Conceptual Framework, jointly with the Corridor Master Plan, provides a clear direction and strategy to guide the creation of this exciting river park. Though prepared for the City of Raleigh, this is a Regional Plan and encourages a partnership of communities including Raleigh, Wake Forest, Wake County and Knightdale, each implementing their respective segments to achieve the entire vision presented by the Master Plan.

The Conceptual Framework establishes the structural components of the Master Plan, taking the form of a description of plan elements and principles, instead of a site specific master plan. Rather than target specific sites for parks, the conceptual framework describes the nature of the regional park corridor, the trail system, the function and characteristics of "gateways" and "arrival parks", and a system of "parkways" which serve to link elements within the linear park and facilitate use of the Corridor.

These are the four essential elements that comprise the Conceptual Framework for the Neuse River Corridor:

1. Greenway Corridor

2. Greenway Trail System

3. Arrival and Gateway Parks

4. Parkway Road System

Greenway Corridor (Greenway Corridor Diagram)

In this plan the term "greenway corridor" refers to the 100-year flood plain or 150 foot width, whichever is greater, along both sides of the Neuse River within the project area. This definition expands on the current definition in the City zoning code which includes only the lesser of the 150 feet from the river bank or the flood plain. In much of the Corridor the flood plain extends considerably further than 150 feet from the river bank. In these areas the greenway corridor should be extended to include the entire flood plain. The rationale for including the entire flood plain within the Corridor is as follows:

1. The flood plain contains an abundance of wetlands which yield varying combinations of the following values: flood storage and reduction of peak stormwater flow, refuge for species of special concern, and groundwater recharge and discharge;

2. The flood plain provides migration/travel Corridors for wildlife species;

3. The flood plain offers protection of surface water from runoff associated with adjacent uses; and

4. The flood plain functions as a buffer from adjacent development.

In some portions of Corridor, where banks are quite steep, the flood plain is narrower than 150 feet. In these areas the greenway width should be 150 feet. This would entail greater easement acquisition cost since it would involve developable property, but is greatly desirable to protect the environmental quality of the river system and the continuity of the recreational aspects of the Corridor.

Acquisition tools and strategies for protection of the flood plain are described in the Inventory section of this report. Strategies are already in place for establishing a conservation buffer over the flood plain through zoning, transfer of development density and other means, in addition to the greenway easement provision within the City code. Protection of the flood plain and acquisition of a 150 foot minimum greenway width can be facilitated by changing the wording of the Zoning Code to establish a greenway easement over the 100-year flood plain or within 150 feet of the river bank, whichever is greater. The 18-mile greenway corridor, including the entire 100-year flood plain, is therefore realistically achievable within the City's jurisdiction.

The remaining eight miles of Corridor on the east side of the river are in the jurisdiction of Wake Forest, Knightdale, and Wake County. In order to complete the Corridor as a comprehensive regional open space system, the neighboring communities need to be involved as partners in this process. It is not too early to work with these communities and encourage them to recognize the value and potential of preserving the Neuse River as a natural resource and regional park. The City should encourage these communities to take steps to preserve the flood plain and establish greenway easements and arrival parks along their segments on the east side of the river as part of their annexation process. Consistent with RaleighÕs recognition of the current pace of development, it will be much easier for these neighboring communities to take action now rather than wait until development pressure reaches the east side of the Neuse River.

Greenway Trail System

The Greenway Trail system is the backbone of the Neuse River Corridor. The 18-mile Corridor affords a unique opportunity for long-distance, nature-oriented, off-road travel. Opportunity also exists for a variety of trail types and experiences which will accommodate diverse recreational travel. The main users are expected to be pedestrians--hikers, joggers and casual strollers, and recreational bicyclists.

Long distance bicycling is a use which is desirable to accommodate in the Corridor but which can conflict, potentially dangerously, with slower-moving users. The Conceptual Framework calls for a continuous route along the Corridor, if possible, using a combination of trail segments and parkway roads. The City should work with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to provide bike lanes or similar measures on parkway roads wherever feasible.

Other uses which may be desirable to accommodate in places along the Corridor include horseback riding and mountain biking. Both these uses can create severe erosion and trail damage, as well as perceptual conflict with other users. They need to be limited to trails and terrain which can withstand these uses. Upland areas near the Corridor, including the quarry and landfill sites, should be considered as possible sites. It is important to seek input from representatives of a broad cross-section of users to aid in determining the best way to accommodate these uses.

All forms of non-motorized circulation may be allowed along the Primary Trail System in the early phases of development but conflicting uses should be separated onto secondary routes as usage increases in certain areas.

Neuse River Trail and Continuous Nature Trail

The centerpiece of the greenway trail system will be a single, continuous primary trail which traverses the entire length of the 18 mile Corridor. This trail will be called the Neuse River Trail. For practical and aesthetic reasons, the Neuse River Trail will likely cross from one side of the river to the other. It will be accessible from all the Gateways and Arrival Parks and will, in turn, provide access to the other trails in the Corridor.

The Neuse River Trail should have the standard Capital Area Greenway width, currently 10 feet, and should be paved in areas of high use near access points and arrival parks. The trail could be unpaved in more remote sections between parks and in special natural areas until increased use indicates need for pavement. It should be connected to other paved trails or parkway bike lanes at several points along the Corridor to create loop trails of varying lengths and character. It should also be connected to unpaved secondary and nature trails to create loops which include a variety of trail types.

A second continuous trail along the Corridor should also be developed, consisting of a network of primarily unpaved secondary and nature trails, to provide slower, quieter, more nature-oriented experiences along the entire length of the Neuse River Corridor. Where possible, this trail should be located on the opposite side of the river from the Neuse River Trail and should be separated from it and other paved trails by significant distance and vegetation.

There are already two locations on the west bank where existing development at Foxcroft and Riverbend makes it difficult to develop a trail due to the terrain and proximity of homes. Fortunately, in both cases, the land on the east bank is undeveloped and bridging opportunities are nearby, so the trail can continue at least on one side. Negotiations should begin immediately to secure at least a 150-foot greenway easement on the east bank opposite Foxcroft and Riverbend up to the Buffaloe Road bridge and a feasibility study should be completed for pedestrian bridges at Goat Island/Raleigh Road and Buffaloe Road to complete this important link in the greenway trail system. This example demonstrates the importance of securing the remaining greenway easement on both sides of the river as soon as possible to avoid the need for additional free-standing pedestrian bridges. Since pedestrian bridges should be built above the 100-year flood elevation, they will generally require spans of 200-300 feet. These can be built most cost-effectively if attached to an existing or proposed highway bridge.

General Trail Design Criteria

Trails in the Corridor should be designed to reveal the Corridor's variety of environmental aspects and scenic character. The routes of the two continuous trails should meander, sometimes passing close to the river and other times traversing higher ground near the upper edge of the flood plain. Where possible, trails should be designed to pass through the forest, with clearing of trees limited to the minimum needed for construction. Where a trail is constructed on a sewer line clearing, effort should be made to curve the alignment and shape the space along the trail by adding vegetation, managing natural recolonization and selective clearing, to reduce the linear impact of the original sewer line and to reduce the separation between the trail and the surrounding woods.

Where trails are located close to the river, opportunities for river views should be sought and enhanced. Access to the banks should be planned and measures taken to protect the banks at these points to prevent degradation of river edges. In order to preserve and enhance the nature-oriented focus of the Corridor, trails on opposite sides of the river should be aligned so that primary or secondary trails are not near the river at the same location. and trails are not visible from each other, except at river crossings.

Trails located near the outer edge of the flood plain may be in close proximity to development on adjacent uplands. Ideally, a buffer of at least 100 feet width of natural woodland vegetation and a substantial change in grade should be used to protect the natural focus of greenway trails and provide privacy for adjoining residents. Where such a buffer is not feasible, tree plantings and a slight elevation of the private living space above the trail elevation can help create a sense of separation.

Primary Trails

Primary trails are the major arteries of the greenway system. These include the Neuse River Trail, greenway trails along major tributaries of the Neuse and main trails within Arrival Parks. These trails should 10 foot wide paved trails, built according to Capital Greenway Trail standards.

Secondary Trails

Secondary trails are trail segments that connect the Neuse River Trail and other primary greenway trails to secondary destinations such as adjacent developments, secondary greenways, sensitive natural areas, special features, etc. These trails should be four to eight feet wide, surfaced in crushed stone, bark chips, grass or, where necessary, asphalt, depending on site conditions and use and should follow the natural terrain where conditions allow. Where the Neuse River Trail is located near the outer edge of the flood plain, a secondary or nature trail closer to the river may be desirable.

Nature Trails and Boardwalks

Nature trails are used to access the most secluded and sensitive environmental areas of the Corridor and generally take the form of loops or spur trails off the primary or secondary trail system. These trails should be four feet wide with a soft surface of bark chips, turf or natural soil. Boardwalks should be used under most circumstances along the edges of wetlands, but care should be taken to keep them from becoming visually obtrusive in the natural environment. Boardwalks are generally six feet wide and do not require rails if kept close to the ground or shallow water. Because of the cost and potential environmental impact of boardwalks, nature trails alongside sensitive areas should be used when possible.


There are six existing and four proposed highway bridge crossings over the Neuse River Corridor. Feasibility studies should be conducted by the City or NCDOT to attach pedestrian bridges to existing bridges at Falls of Neuse Road, US-1, Buffaloe Road, US- 64, and Poole Road; and proposed bridges at the relocated Falls of Neuse Road, Northern Wake Expressway (Outer Loop), Highway 401, Raleigh Boulevard, and US-64 Bypass. These ten bridges will provide linkage and trail loop opportunities along the 18-mile river Corridor and reduce the need for additional free-standing pedestrian bridges. Pedestrian crossings should be designed to provide separation from vehicular traffic for increased safety and comfort. They should be located underneath the road bridge if feasible. An excellent example of a pedestrian river crossing exists in Richmond, Virginia where a bridge suspended below a highway provides pedestrian access to an island park in the James River.

Arrival Parks and Gateways

Another major component to the success of the Neuse River Corridor is the ability to gain access to the Greenway Corridor and to provide land out of the flood plain for parking, restrooms, and recreation at reasonable intervals along the Corridor. Currently, public access to the river is achieved on three small isolated pieces of land with a parking lot and canoe launch or on foot from adjacent greenway trails. This form of access is not only limited in its capacity, but is difficult to manage from a security and maintenance perspective. In order to avoid the isolated nature of this form of access, the Conceptual Framework recommends that either Arrival Parks or Gateways be established at approximately two to three mile intervals along the Corridor to provide access from both sides of the river. These parks could range from ten to one hundred acres in size and should contain a critical mass of recreational components to help ensure that there will be people there during typical park hours. Arrival Parks are intended as destination facilities in themselves, as well as access points to the Corridor, with a range and scope of recreational facilities typical of a Community or Metro Park within the Raleigh Parks System. Gateways are typically smaller, with a primary function of providing access to the Corridor from parkways and crossing points.

Arrival Parks

In order for the Neuse River Corridor to function as a regional park system rather than a collection of conventional community parks, a variety of recreational needs should be distributed along its entire length. Given the wide range of environmental characteristics available on land along the Corridor, sites should be selected that are ideally suited for a specific use. There is a need for three general categories of recreation facilities and parkland which are appropriate along the Neuse River Corridor: Active, Passive, and Nature Reserves. The river Corridor also offers unique opportunities for Adventure Program Elements which can be incorporated into Arrival Parks.

Active Recreation Sites generally contain playing fields and courts for organized athletics, recreation centers and associated support facilities. Sites selected for active recreation should be generally flat open land or pine woods that are reasonably well-drained and do not have bedrock close to the surface. Sites should be buffered from residential development and have good access to the primary road system. There are several sites along the Corridor that have been used for agriculture and forestry that fit this criteria.

Passive Recreation Sites typically accommodate informal forms of recreation such as walking, picnicking, fishing, canoeing, horseshoes, bird watching, cultural interpretation, etc. The ideal type of site for these activities is a rolling wooded site with creeks, rock outcroppings, hardwood forests, ponds, and dramatic overlook views, all contributing to the natural beauty of the park. There are several sites along the Corridor that exhibit these environmental characteristics and the majority of park land will probably be of this type.

Nature Reserves are primarily selected because they contain unique environmental characteristics such as rare plant communities or prime habitat for wildlife which provide secluded educational and interpretive opportunities related to the natural ecology of the area. The most significant environmental characteristics present in the Neuse River Corridor are bald cypress and emergent wetlands and large tracts of undisturbed bottomland and hardwood forests. These areas contain a rich diversity of vegetation which provide ideal wildlife habitats teeming with birds, animals, and aquatic life native to the region. Large undisturbed tracts provide a type of habitat which is fast disappearing in the City at large. They are essential for preservation of some of the wildlife species currently existing in the Corridor. To be successful, these sites need to be in quiet, secluded areas away from highways and major development. Access to these sites should be limited to protect the value of the wildlife habitat.

Several unique sites are identified on the Inventory and Analysis drawing. These include Oxbow Wetlands, Horseshoe Bend Farm, Harris Creek, Beaverdam Creek West, Bridges Lake, and Rogers Lane Wetlands. The master plan recommends acquisition of these sites, or of greenway easements allowing access for limited interpretive trails and boardwalks. Since most of these sites are within the 100-year flood plain, they should be relatively inexpensive to acquire by one of the means described earlier in this report. At a minimum, the City should ensure their protection through Conservation Buffer zoning or other conservation techniques. Due to their remote nature, these sites can be accessed from the greenway trail and do not necessarily require vehicular access and parking. In some cases, they may be a special zone within another Arrival Park.

Adventure Elements are unique features, both natural and man-made, which create opportunities for Outdoor Adventure Programs and individual adventure activities. The Neuse River itself is the most significant adventure element in the Corridor providing eighteen miles of canoe, kayak, and boat trails. To make this journey more exciting, whitewater rapids challenge the adventurer at Falls Rapids, Lunch Rock and north of Poole Road. Wake County prepared a report investigating the potential of Falls Rapids to become a regionally significant white water canoe/kayak course. An artificial whitewater course, constructed outside the river bed, may be possible. Other unique cultural experiences available along the Corridor include seeing how granite is quarried at the Nello Teer quarry, discovering the historic mill site near the Route-401 river crossing, exploring archaeological sites, and seeing the hydroelectric dam at Milburnie.

To make these adventure opportunities more accessible to the general public, an outstanding Adventure Program exists within the Parks and Recreation Department which organizes canoe trips, provides naturalists for nature hikes, teaches rock climbing and camping skills, and plans adventure trips around the region. The Adventure Program primarily operates along a three mile stretch of river from the canoe launch at Milburnie, through the rapids at Lunch River Rock and south of Anderson Point to the take-out at Poole Road.

The Adventure Program and the experience for individuals can be greatly expanded and enriched with the addition of special facilities along the Corridor. Canoe launch facilities at strategic locations, group camp sites, ropes courses, rock climbing walls, canoe rental facilities, and an Adventure Program Center would all contribute to making the Neuse River an adventure in itself. Specific locations for these elements should be included in future master plans for Corridor segments, as they are in the plans for Anderson Point Park-Milburnie Park segment.


The primary focus of Gateways is provision of access to the Corridor. Gateways are to be located adjacent to roadways to facilitate easy access to the Corridor. Parking, wayfinding information and trail-associated facilities should, at a minimum, be provided. Where feasible and desirable, additional acreage can be acquired and developed for expanded recreation and/or conservation purposes. Gateways, however, are not proposed as sites for traditional active recreation facilities. Such facilities can more efficiently and suitably be accommodated elsewhere.

Parkway Road System (parkway diagram)

The Parkway Road System is a network of existing and proposed streets that parallel the Neuse River Corridor. The purpose of the parkways is to provide access to the Corridor, and serve as scenic routes for vehicular and bike travel. They also serve as a wayfinding system to each of the Gateway or Arrival Parks and to increase public exposure and awareness of the Neuse River Corridor and the Regional Park. Bicycle lanes should be provided along all parkways so the parkways can serve as part of the bicycle trail network for the Corridor. Pedestrian walkways are also highly desirable along the parkways. The Parkway system can be created with a series of "Trail Blazer" signs similar to the ones used for Scenic Highway routes.

Corridor Master Plan

Building on the Conceptual Framework, the Corridor Master Plan weaves together guiding principles and site specific opportunities along the Corridor into a plan for a cohesive regional park. This regional park is built upon the conservation of the 100-year flood plain and the provision of trails along both sides of the river wherever feasible. The plan uses existing park sites as core facilities and identifies key upland sites which are suitable to significantly expand traditional recreation facilities. Private, quasi-public and public properties in other jurisdictions are identified as potential partners in structuring and providing access to this regional park. Road crossings are emphasized as means to increase and enhance awareness of the Corridor. Two new roads bring vehicular access closer to the river and to the park. Parkways, as described in the Conceptual Framework, will serve as a wayfinding system to the regional park and increase public exposure and awareness of the Neuse River Corridor as a whole.

Plan Foundation

The Corridor Master Plan is built on a strong foundation of existing policies and public land holdings which support and make eminently feasible its development. A series of plans illustrates the layers of support on which the master plan is developed:

Plan 1: Neuse Greenway, shows the river itself, together with the 150-foot greenway Corridor on each side. This is the core layer of the plan's foundation.

Plan 2: Flood Plain, Wetlands and Special Places, expands this greenway Corridor to include the entire 100- year flood plain with its many wetland areas. This map also indicates by means of colored dots a number of special places along and near the Corridor. These special places consist of scenic, historical or cultural resources such as rock outcrops, unusual wetland types, historic farms, mills or other structures and other unusual places such as the quarry and the hydroelectric plant. These places contribute to the character and to the potential use of the Corridor, whether within public or private control.

Plan 3: Connecting Greenways and Adjacent Development, adds context to the plan, showing the connecting greenways of the Capitol Area Greenway System and the existing development adjacent to the Corridor. This map shows both existing opportunities and limits to the project area.

Plan 4: Existing Parks and Opportunity Sites, shows the existing public and quasi-public properties along the corridor including City-owned park sites, the proposed Wake Tech campus, the Capital Area Soccer League fields and the Wake County landfill. These all present opportunities to develop connections between the Corridor and adjacent upland areas, to provide access and parking, to provide a greater range of recreational facilities, and simply to bring more people to the river.

The final map, the Corridor Master Plan, is structured around the layers of opportunities and limitations presented in the preceding four maps. The Corridor Master Plan utilizes available resources to build a regional park, respects limitations already existing along the Corridor, and illustrates the potential relationships between the Corridor and properties controlled by other governing authorities or private organizations. Most importantly, this map introduces the features and proposed acquisition of specific upland sites that will distinguish the Neuse River Corridor as a regional park of extraordinary value in terms of recreational opportunity and resource conservation.

Principal Elements (Corridor Master Plan drawing)

The Corridor Master Plan has eleven major components. These components are as follows:

A more complete description of these components is provided in the following paragraphs.

Flood Plain and Wetlands

The 100-year flood plain, which includes the wetland areas shown on the Corridor Master Plan, is the backbone of the plan. The inclusion of the 100-year flood plain is the minimally acceptable measure of protection for the river system. It serves as flood storage, provides refuge for wildlife and exceptional vegetation, helps to maintain water quality, and buffers the Corridor from adjacent land uses. The flood plain is the true boundary of the river. Conservation of the river and the experience of the river are both incomplete without the continuous relationship and connection between river and flood plain.

In some locations, the flood plain is narrower than the City of Raleigh's 150 foot standard greenway width for the Neuse Corridor. In these locations, the 150 foot greenway easement should be obtained by acquisition or other voluntary means. In all other situations, the full width of the 100-year flood plain should be conserved. Ideally, this flood plain should come into public control. However, flood plain areas can remain privately held. Under these circumstances, an agreement should be sought to prohibit clearing of flood plain areas and to provide public access via the 150 foot greenway easement provisions currently in the codes.

The 100-year flood plain, associated wetlands, the 150 foot greenway easement and, of course, the river itself, when combined together, form a distinct and substantial recreational resource. They are also the foundation for the greater regional park planned around them.


There are ten Gateways proposed on the Corridor Master Plan. These ten Gateways are:

These Gateways could range from ten to one hundred acres in size, depending on their specific locations and the distance from the adjacent roadway to the river. All of the Gateways are located adjacent to roadways so to facilitate easy access to the Corridor. The combination of Gateways and Arrival Parks (described below) provide access from each side of the river at intervals of two to three miles along the entire Corridor. This frequency of access, combined with trails on both sides of the river, crossovers at roadway crossings, and lesser pedestrian access points through residential developments, establishes sufficient opportunity to enter and logically travel along the Corridor.

Arrival Parks

There are six Arrival Parks proposed for the Corridor. These parks are major centers of recreational activity along the Corridor and within the regional park. Each Arrival Park represents a unique opportunity for recreational activity. The six Arrival Parks are described below.

Falls Park

Falls Park, located at the base of the Falls Lake Dam and adjacent to the Village of Falls, is the primary gateway to the Corridor. Falls Park encompasses the Knobs Overlook identified in the Conceptual Framework and suggests that a modestly urban linkage between the Village of Falls, new development and the park could be developed to create an integrated and exceptionally interesting relationship to the river. It is also proposed that a whitewater kayaking facility be developed here, taking advantage of the change in elevation from the lake to the river and sufficient water volume to make such a facility work.

The City of Raleigh already leases from the Army Corps of Engineers a small parcel of land at the falls for use as a canoe launch. The land suggested for the greater Falls Park has excellent bluffs from which to view the river, scenic terrain, rocky outcrops and open, flatter land suitable for more traditional recreation activities.

Hairpin Bend Park

Hairpin Bend Park is located between Route 1 and mile 5 as measured downstream from Falls of Neuse Road. The heart of this park is extensive wetlands found on both sides of the river, in particular the Oxbow Wetlands and the Wetland Lakes areas shown on the Corridor Master Plan. At the hairpin turn in the river, the plan shows an observation tower for looking out over the broad expanse of wetlands and wetland forests.

Immediately south of the Oxbow Wetlands is a large expanse of undeveloped uplands, relatively flat and open or in pine woods, which are ideally suited for intensive development of athletic fields. This expanse extends southward until it connects with the Capital Area Soccer League property. This land, combined with the extensive wetland areas and areas of mature hardwoods near the river, could create an Arrival Park and a zone within the regional park that offers extensive and exceptional opportunities for active and passive recreation.

Horseshoe Bend Park

Horseshoe Bend Park as shown on this plan centers around and expands on Horseshoe Farm, a site already owned by the City of Raleigh. A pedestrian bridge to the Capital Area Soccer League Property and Perry Creek Greenway to the west immediately expands recreational opportunity for users at both sites. A historic farm site which adjoins both sides of U.S. 401 would be a valuable addition to this park. Just northeast of this farm site on the west side of U.S. 401 is an excellent site for provision of access to the river. The riverbank here has a modest slope and would serve well as a launch/takeout point for canoes. Access via a bridge directly into Horseshoe Farm from US-401 may also be desirable.

South of US-401 on the east bank of the river is a site identified in the Conceptual Framework as the Forestry Site. This site has been cleared for timber, is flat and generally out of the flood plain. It is ideally suited for intensive athletic field development. Across the river from this site is the future northern campus of Wake Technical College. A cooperative effort with the College to develop riverfront amenities for public use should be pursued. The Forestry Site and the Wake Tech property establish the southern limits of the expanded Horseshoe Bend Park.

Botanic Garden/Arrival Park Search Area

Between Buffaloe Road and the proposed crossing point of Raleigh Boulevard, an Arrival Park is desirable to provide access to the river and additional recreation opportunity. There are at least two sites which are well-suited for development as a botanic garden. It is known that the Wake County Botanical Garden Society is searching for approximately two hundred acres to create a new, privately funded botanic garden, and they may be interested in the potential sites in this search area. Otherwise, the Inventory and Analysis Plan identifies several sites suitable for development as an Arrival Park.

Milburnie Park

Milburnie Park consists of two sites currently known as Neuse East Park and Neuse West Park, along with properties in the Corridor between them and adjacent to them. A master plan has been developed for these sites. Please refer to the description of the Milburnie Park Master Plan for more detail.

Anderson Point Park

Anderson Point marks the confluence of the Neuse River and Crabtree Creek. A master plan has been developed for this site. Please refer to the description of the Anderson Point Master Plan for more detail.

Potential Park Land

Potential Park Land is land not in flood plain and not already owned by the City of Raleigh that is undeveloped and particularly suitable for recreation or as a unique amenity. Four such areas have already been described under Arrival Parks. These include land at Falls Park, Hairpin Bend Park, and Horseshoe Bend Park, as well as the Botanic Garden/Arrival Park Site.

Additional lands recommended for acquisition or joint use include the Mallinckrodt Overlook, located just west of U.S. 1, a strip of uplands between the proposed Parkside Drive and the Oxbow Wetlands, a strip of uplands between the proposed Riverside Drive and the river, and additional acreage at Anderson Point Park to accommodate neighborhood-scale active recreation. Other areas, at least ten acres in size, are also recommended for acquisition for Gateways as shown on the Corridor Master Plan.

Potential Park Land sites are the principal targets for acquisition and offer, in the main, outstanding opportunities for the development of active recreation facilities.

Opportunity Sites

Opportunity Sites are public or institutional properties which can be woven into the fabric of the regional park. These properties include the Corps of Engineers land at Falls Lake, the Nello Teer Quarry, the Wake County landfill, the Wake Forest wastewater treatment plant, the Capital Area Soccer League site, and the Wake Tech campus. All of these properties have the potential to contribute to recreation opportunity along the Corridor or, at a minimum, to retain significant open spaces along or adjacent to the Corridor. Cooperative efforts between the City of Raleigh and the owners of these properties should be pursued to enhance the conservation and use of the Neuse River Corridor.

Existing Parks

A description of park sites already owned by the City of Raleigh has been provided earlier in this report. These sites are highlighted on the 1000 scale Corridor Master Plan. These park sites, along with the flood plain/greenway spine of the plan, constitute a significant core for the ultimate regional park.

Trail System

The proposed trail system is described in detail under the Conceptual Framework section of this report. A conceptual system of trails is shown on the 400 scale Corridor Master Plan drawing. Both long distance and shorter loop trails are the most essential ingredients to the success of the regional park.

Special Places

Numerous colored dots on the 1000 scale Corridor Master Plan represent significant historic and cultural sites, rock outcrops, high quality wetlands, level open land and pine woods, scenic terrain, and high river overlooks. Some of these special places fall within Flood Plains, Arrival Parks or Potential Park Land, while others do not. As proposals for development come before the City of Raleigh or other jurisdictions, it is recommended that these special places be noted and addressed in some manner. If they fall within targeted acquisition areas, the City has the opportunity to purchase or influence the use and/or conservation of a special place or resource. If they fall outside targeted acquisition areas, developers should be made aware of them and encouraged to consider their conservation and incorporation as private or public components adjoining the Corridor. In this manner, the reach and richness of the Corridor as a whole is extended and the relationship of developments and people to the river is expanded and enhanced.

Riverside/Parkside Drives

These two roadways are proposed to bring people in vehicles closer to the park, or in the case of the Riverside Drive, closer to the river itself. Parkside Drive links U.S. 1 with Perry Creek Road and creates the western boundary of the proposed park area between Hairpin Bend and Horseshoe Bend. Riverside Drive links Southhall Road at Wake Tech to Buffaloe Road.

These roadways should be coordinated with the development of the Parkway System. They also should be developed with bike lanes so that alternate high speed and local bicycling routes can be accommodated. Sidewalks should be included along them to increase opportunities for pedestrian movement. Scenic turnouts should be incorporated along Riverside Drive and along Parkside Drive near the Oxbow Wetlands. These roadways add another dimension to accessing the Corridor and, in a limited sense, add another dimension to recreation opportunity along the river.

Corridor Crossings

Where roadways cross the Corridor, the plan proposes use of plantings, signage, and physical markers to increase awareness of the Corridor, to guide people to points of access, and to establish a distinct, bold sense of identity for the Corridor as people pass over it. A landmark or gateway emblem is recommended to mark the edge of the Corridor. Within the Corridor, the natural vegetation should be extended as close to the road as possible to enhance a sense of continuity along the Corridor. Plantings, such as street trees, can extend along roads crossing the Corridor for as much as several thousand feet on both sides of the river so that people recognize that they are entering the Corridor. This visual extension of the Corridor beyond its obvious boundaries enhances awareness of the Corridor and physically links the Corridor with surrounding land uses at these points of crossing.


The purpose and design criteria for a Parkway Road System is described in the Conceptual Framework portion of this report. The Parkway route begins on the west side of the river with Neuse River Drive (proposed on the Thoroughfare Plan) at the north, connects to Perry Creek Road and then follows the Southhall Road extension all the way to Anderson Point Park. The route continues across Poole Road on the east side of the Corridor to Hodge Road and goes north along Forestville Road (SR2049) up to US-1, then back to the dam on Falls of Neuse Road. The Parkway System can be a valuable recreational resource in itself, providing a scenic route for driving and cyclists as well as connecting the Arrival and Gateway Parks.


Neuse River Corridor Master Plan Summary

The Conceptual Framework and the Corridor Master Plan together comprise the Master Plan.

The Conceptual Framework for the Neuse River Corridor provides a comprehensive vision and guiding principles for a Regional River Park System along eighteen miles of Neuse River. Its full implementation will require an intergovernmental partnership involving State, County and Local Governments working cooperatively over the next 10-20 years, each implementing the portions of the overall plan within their respective jurisdictions. The final vision for the plan will incorporate a Greenway Corridor consisting of over 2,000 acres of flood plain, a Greenway Trail System containing an extensive trail network, Gateways or Arrival Parks at two to three mile intervals and Parkside, Riverside and Parkway Road Systems involving many miles of existing and proposed roads and thoroughfares. Once complete, the Neuse River Regional Park System will contribute greatly to the open space preservation and environmental recreation goals of Raleigh, Wake County, Wake Forest and Knightdale, as well as to the conservation of a critical natural resource.

The Corridor Master Plan, built upon the Conceptual Framework, presents a more specific vision for the Regional River Park System. Building first upon the City of Raleigh's greenway easement initiative and the preservation of the 100-year flood plain and associated wetlands, this plan demonstrates how existing park sites, other public and institutional properties, and specific acquisition sites can be linked together to create a recreational resource of unparalleled quality and diversity. This specific vision also demonstrates feasibility. Many of the major land components of this Regional River Park System can be secured through means other than direct purchase. The plan shows that many of the major components are outstanding in themselves. Linked together, they create a system that is, in a true and achievable sense, spectacular.