North Wake Landfill District Park

View from the top of the repurposed North Wake landfill

Today I visited a park that was once a landfill, unabashedly called “North Wake Landfill District Park“. I remember dumping truckloads of junk in this landfill years ago as I was renovating my house, and besides being grown over with a thin layer of vegetation, the park is exactly as described: A large man made mountain of a decommissioned landfill, surrounded by a concrete municipal drainage ditch, flanked by a new children’s playground complete with restroom facilities. There are some short mountainbiking trails, and a link to the city’s greenway system.

Restroom facilities at the North Wake Landfill Park

The trail to the top of the landfill has its own gravel parking lot on the south side of the mountain. A wide, shadeless gravel path leads to the top, which has a picnic table and bike rack. The top is planted with wispy 7 foot tall native grass, which was swarming with giant grasshoppers. You can see the downtown Raleigh skyline way off, the dense green landscapes spotted with subdivisions in the mid-ground, and the tire recycling facility below in the park. It’s actually breezy up there, and fairly peaceful.

Nice picnic spot? : gravel lot at the bottom of the mountain trail.

Except for the subdivisions nearby, the park is fairly out in the middle of nowhere (where most landfills are located), however, the playground was fairly busy when we were there. Kudos to Wake County for making something decent out of the old landfill, connecting it with greenways, and allowing folks to take advantage of the view from the top of the fill.

Children's play area at North Wake Landfill District Park

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3 Responses to North Wake Landfill District Park

  1. JZ says:

    Went out there to dump some old appliances sometime in early 2010…the restroom structure is fantastic. I believe that was Dan Huffman when he was still with Cherry Huffman (now RATIO) Architects. This was our superintendent at the CAM Raleigh project previous project before entering the pit of hell with environmental, regulatory and architectural nightmares at CAM. The dump was a cake walk in comparison. Point is, it looked great and I’ve always wanted to go back…. thanks for the images….as it gets warm here in a few months, maybe we’ll find a Saturday to trek out there….

  2. This is a great example of converting an otherwise derelict site to a great outdoor space. I have been looking for these types of redevelopment projects across the country as part of my thesis research which is directly related to redeveloping contaminated and abandoned properties. Since you have been to the park and have experienced a site such as this, I am interested in what your initial thoughts/feedback are regarding my brownfield/grayfield redevelopment strategy? See link:

    • Vincent says:

      I think the main point and most important, like you state, is to reintroduce people to the spaces. It is funny to me that, particularly in Raleigh, most of the mainly undevelopable areas become parks or greenways. Our greenways are designed along the flood plain along the creek and river basins, and our main potential for a downtown ‘central’ park is on the grounds of the old dump, which is now part of the Dorthea Dix mental hospital grounds, which is closing.

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