A few years ago, I learned about a piece of land Andy Birmingham had inherited from his father George, a Durham house builder who wanted to create his own dream home on this tucked-away natural place right in the heart of Durham. A beautiful, rocky stretch of Ellerbe Creek runs through a small forest that is full of wildlife. It was a forgotten place when I first saw it, well after George passed away. The land was uncared for and overgrown, and it was going up for sale as building lots for two houses. But, as George had understood, the creek there was amazing, like one you might find in the mountains. So I thought, "Why put houses here? Let's get ECWA to buy it and make it into a nature preserve."
And that's what we did. I was so convinced that ECWA ownership was the right thing that I bought the land myself, so ECWA could have the time to pull together the needed financial resources. This summer the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission, the City of Raleigh (which drinks Ellerbe Creek's water once it reaches Falls Lake), and the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund joined together to help ECWA buy the land from me. Now this land (which George Birmingham named The Rocks) can be protected forever.
The Rocks Preserve opened to the public earlier this year, with new trails that ECWA won grants to create. You can access it from the Stadium Drive bike/pedestrian trail, between Broad and Duke Streets. Hundreds of people have already enjoyed The Rocks since it opened to the public this fall. Some love the creek itself; others are attracted by the natural-surface trails. My family members, ages 18 months to 68 years, all look forward to visiting The Rocks for years to come.
Creating nature preserves is one of the things that ECWA does well. With urbanization, finding natural habitats and trails within the Durham city limits is not easy to do. I invite you to explore the beauty and peacefulness that The Rocks has to offer. I also invite you to join me in making it possible to create a cleaner Ellerbe Creek and to preserve more green, natural spaces right in urban Durham by supporting ECWA with a financial gift today.