Durham Open Space and Trails Commission (DOST)

Advocating outdoor recreation opportunities for Durham residents since 1983

DOST website


The latest news from DOST and around the community

  1. Matching grants for 2014/15 deadline is November 4, 2014.
  2. DOST Matching Grants Awarded for 2012/13 (6/19/2013)
  3. Trail Maps (3/25/2013)
  4. DOST Matching Grants Program - REINSTATED
  5. Open Space and Trails Project Updates
  6. Vacancies on the DOST Board
  7. American Tobacco Trail - Phase E Update
  8. DOST is on Facebook.  Become a fan!
  9. MST License Plate Launch
  10. Stimulus Package aids Durham trail-building
  11. NC Parks and Rec releases Paddle Survey
  12. DOST Commissioner Kelly Bryant on WUNC's The State of Things
  13. Updated Bike/Ped/Transit map for downtown Durham
  14. American Tobacco Trail documentary
  15. Mountains-to-Sea Trail opens new section
  16. I-40 Pedestrian Bridge design unveiled
  17. Download the DOST brochure!

City of Durham's Capital Improvements Program (CIP) information

CIP information can be found online at https://ww2.durhamnc.gov/cip/.
Once on this page select the desired project's link and the page that opens will tell you the project's budget, project manager, current status and what work is in progress. Further down the page will be budget information on funding (how much per FY), encumbrances and sources of funding supporting the project.

Project Updates

American Tobacco Trail (video) - http://youtu.be/qeWApNOgAyI

American Tobacco Trail - http://durhamnc.gov/ich/op/pwd/consproj/Pages/SW-24-ATT.aspx

Third Fork Creek Trail - http://durhamnc.gov/ich/op/gs/Pages/Construction-Project-Management.aspx

West Ellerbee Creek Trail - http://www.bikewalkdurham.org/dost/DOST_Maps/EllerbeeCreek.pdf

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DOST is looking for Durham residents to fill our vacancies! We have an opening for someone who lives in Triangle Township as well as several at-large representatives (i.e. open positions to those who live anywhere in Durham County). If you would like to become a Commissioner, please contact the DOST Chairperson.

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The American Tobacco Trail Bridge is Open. Enjoy!

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Join DOST on Facebook and network with fans of Durham's open spaces and trails

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Buy an MST license plate! Show your love of the Mountains to Sea Trail &

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R. Kelly Bryant Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge

When NC 147 was constructed in 1965 it effectively dissected parts of Durham. Most of the neighborhood roads connecting the Hayti Community to downtown Durham were severed. To partially remedy this situation, a pedestrian bridge was constructed from Lakeland Street on the south to Gillette Street on the north. The unsightly bridge suffered from a lack of maintenance and from adequate connections and was closed in 1995. Now, after many delays, a new bridge is nearly complete and will serve to reconnect the two sides of the Durham Freeway.

In August, 2009, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution to name this new bridge in honor of R. Kelly Bryant, Jr., a longtime resident of Durham, Civil Rights leader, trail advocate, and Boy Scout leader. Kelly has served on the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission (DOST) and its precursor, the Durham Urban Trails and Greenways Commission, and advocated for construction of the original bridge, against the closing of this bridge, and now for the construction of the new bridge and the trails that connect to it.

The Trails Committee of the DOST has elevated the trails serving this bridge to a priority level and is reaching out to community groups in the area of the bridge to adopt these trails. On the north, a sidewalk trail leads from the bridge to Alston Avenue. On the south side of 147, a bike-friendly ramp leads down to Lakeland Street for one block to the Burton Elementary School. From there a trail heads down to the Burton Park. A side trail, built when the original bridge was closed, takes off from this trail and heads over to Bacon Street. This trail, like the others in the area, while unmaintained for years, is nevertheless, still used by pedestrians. There is some erosion to this trail caused by drainage from NC 147. The main trail, known as the Burton Park Trail, also has not been maintained for years. It passes through the Burton Park, crosses E. Lawson and Dayton Streets, and follows a small creek all the way to S. Alston Avenue and NC 55. On the DOST Master Plan, this trail is supposed to connect to the Rocky Creek Trail (PDF map), which is paved and ties into the highly successful American Tobacco Trail.

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Durham County residents are benefiting from the local application of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the "Stimulus Package".

Four areas of interest to open space and trails supporters will be affected:

  • Third Fork Creek
  • North-South Greenway
  • American Tobacco Trails, including the Riddle Road Spur
  • variety of sidewalks

Here are some descriptions of the future trail and sidewalk improvements, as listed in a recent PDF from the City's website:

Construction of 3 trail segments to extend the Third Fork Creek Trail (TFCT), as follows: (1) an estimated 700 feet of trail to connect the TFCT to existing sidewalks and bike lanes on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, (2) an estimated 2375 feet of trail to connect the TFCT at Woodcroft Parkway to Garrett Road Park, and (3) an estimated 2960 feet of trail to connect the TFCT at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to Southern Boundaries Park. Includes clearing/grubbing, grading, culverts, driveway aprons, and construction of a 10' asphalt trail.

Resurface the North-South Greenway Trail for an estimated 3,080 feet in length from Lavender Street to Murray Avenue. Includes grading as needed to add 2' stone to each side of the trail.

Resurface the American Tobacco Trail for an estimated 35,400 feet in length From Morehead Avenue to NC 54. Includes grading as needed to add 2' stone to each side of the trail. Resurface the Riddle Road Spur Trail for an estimated 7,947 feet in length from the American Tobacco Trail to Briggs Avenue. Includes grading as needed to add 2' stone to each side of the trail.

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The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation published a report on the results of their "Paddle Survey", complete with some eye-opening data. Over 2000 respondents took the survey. The vast majority of them report living in the Piedmont area, so that the Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers were voted the most popular watercourses to paddle should come as little surprise. However, the respondents also indicated that they spent "nearly $300,000 last year on trips within their local area" and another $950,000 on trips outside their local area. Kayaks were far and away the craft of choice. Not only is paddling a low-impact, green way to enjoy the outdoors, but it also apparently has high impact on the "greening" of local businesses. Take heed, area Chambers of Commerce! Support the development of blue trails as well as the more typical land-based ones! Read the full report (PDF).

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DOST's very own R. Kelly Bryant, Jr. was interviewed by Frank Stasio on the WUNC lunchtime radio program, The State of Things. While Kelly did not discuss the current state of open space or trails in Durham County, he did entrance listeners with fascinating stories about his life and involvement in the struggle for civil rights and equality. Be sure to download the podcast and listen to it -- Kelly's life is an amazing journey full of inspiration.

And, actually, Kelly's championing of civil rights and access to open space did intersect a half-century ago as he slyly helped integrate the Kerr Lake recreation area. The man is a Durham treasure, and we are proud to serve with him on the DOST Commisison!

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GoTriangle.com has published a map for downtown Durham (PDF) and it's full of good information for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. This new map highlights the panoply of restaurants and cultural amenties around downtown within easy biking and walking distance of transit stations and each other. Pass them out to your Raleigh and Cary friends who complain they can't navigate through Durham! (Then check out all the other maps we have available on the DOST Maps page.)

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A local multimedia producer, Carol Thomson, has been creating a documentary work about the American Tobacco Trail.  The documentary, entitled Bridging Rails to Trails, "explores the 100-year evolution of the American Tobacco Trail from a railroad crucial in tobacco manufacturing to a unique linear park. The trail corridor's history reflects the rise and fall of Durham's tobacco industry, and Durham's evolution toward a healthier, more people-focused community in the 21st century. Currently over three-fourths of the new recreational trail is open to the public and it is a major family recreation draw. When complete, it will cover 22 miles in Durham, Chatham and Wake counties and provide people of all ages with attractive, safe, accessible and free places to cycle, ride horses, walk, jog and skate."

As she explains further, the documentary "takes the viewer on an interactive journey of stops down the trail. Video segments explore the varied sections: the people who use the trail, the volunteers who are making it a reality, and the communities adjacent to it. Slide shows of archival photos and oral histories of tobacco and railroad workers bring its history to life. These stories include topics of green space conservation, changes in spaces and communities, healthy lifestyles, and historic redevelopment."

You can view the documentary website at www.bridgingrailstotrails.com.

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The Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail reported that another section of that trail is open in Durham County. A portion of the Falls Lake Trail "runs from Hickory Hill Boat Ramp to the end of E. Geer St. and is a part of Section 26 of the MST and is shown on Map 26.5." Find the trail on the overview map (a Google mashup), as well as the detail map (a JPG).

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After several public information and feedback sessions (and what seems like years of false-starts), the design of the American Tobacco Trail Phase E Pedestrian Bridge, commonly called the I-40 bridge, has been completed. The City's Public Works Department website lists the details of the project, but shown below is one of the images of the bridge as it will look when construction has been completed.


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Download the DOST brochure and learn the basics of our organization! (PDF)

DOST PDF Brochure

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Page last updated 20 October 2014.