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Umstead CoalitionEvery quarter I share one of the causes I recently supported. This quarter I donated to The Umstead Coalition. If you’re in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle area you have likely heard of or visited Umstead State Park, or as locals refer to it: Umstead.

Umstead is a park nestled on more than 5,000 acres in between the three points of the Triangle. Among your standard park amenities like bridle and bike trails, hiking trails, camping, boating, fishing – there are historic mill sites and cabins, an old cemetery, and other treasures – many of which have faced the threat of demolition over the years. With finite state funding for parks, Umstead has relied on grants and the efforts of The Umstead Coalition for preserving important features of the park and advocating for its future.

Just last year, thousands of people signed a petition to help prevent RDU Airport (which borders the park) from acquiring parkland for airport expansion. Among the many people behind these preservation efforts is The Umstead Coalition. More about what they do – and creative ways you can help support them (through illustration and photography!) below.

hiking dog

Ramsay by the Cole Mill site in Umstead.

Organization:The Umstead Coalition

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

What they do: Maintain and preserve park land for today’s users and future generations.

501(c)(3): Yes.

Funding: Mail a check. Their annual fund campaign runs through April 22, 2017 – but you can donate anytime. 

How I learned about their need: When I lived closer to the park I would take Ramsay to Umstead on my lunch breaks, or just out for an early morning or evening hike. It was easy to squeeze in a 5-mile hike before breakfast on a Saturday morning when the park was less than 3 miles from my front door! Now that we live a bit further away we don’t go there as often. I first visited Umstead through a Meetup group hike with Raleigh Recreation Hikers about a decade ago. Rod Broadbelt organizes trail and off-trail hikes every month, and I’ve remained on his email list. His annual fundraising email came my way and I donated.

Interested in supporting The Umstead Coalition? You can donate, become an annual member, volunteer for trail work maintenance, attend their walk/run/bike benefit event – held on April 22, 2017. They also run illustration and photography contests – with submissions due June 2017.

Missed my last Pay-it-Forward post? Read it here.