Green Hills Historic & Natural Significance

Curved section of Top of Hill Trail showing the actual top of the hill

Welcome to Green Hills County Park, an innovative post-closure use of a municipal solid waste landfill. While the park opened in 2010, the site was used much differently for many years prior.

What Lies Within the Hills?


The North Wake Landfill site was established as a municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill in the mid-1990s to serve Wake County’s solid waste disposal needs. The original MSW landfill cell was an unlined facility that was closed in 1998 when new regulations required that MSW landfills be constructed with a liner. A new, lined MSW landfill cell was constructed adjacent to the old landfill; this landfill area reached capacity in 2008 and is now closed.

Other significant functions at the site are a closed construction and demolition debris landfill; landfill gas collection systems; a multi-material recycling facility that collects items such as tires, motor oil and white goods; a convenience drop-off center for citizens to dispose of solid waste; a household hazardous waste collection center; various County buildings not associated with the solid waste function; and a large borrow area dedicated to providing soil for daily cover at the active landfill. Intertwined among these functions are areas of open space.

At the time the site was first used for solid waste disposal, the area was sparsely populated. As the County's population grew and spread, both residential and commercial development began to occur around the landfill site. The natural result of a growing population is a growing waste stream. The increasing residential and commercial development and increasing size of the landfill set the stage for a clash of seemingly incompatible land uses; however, as the landfill closed and disposal operations ceased, it became well recognized in the community that a good opportunity existed to turn the landfill area into a community asset beneficial to a wide range of citizens. The landfill was a community asset, albeit sometimes unrecognized as such.

Closed landfills have been converted to alternate uses for many years. In March 2004 the North Wake Landfill Citizens Committee (NWLFCC) was formed as part of the post-closure planning process to solicit opinions of the citizens living in the area as to how the site would ultimately be used after it ceased to function as an active municipal solid waste landfill. The NWLFCC met monthly for more than a year to develop and define criteria that would be used to develop a post-closure use Master Plan.

The final Master Plan, the result of an involved community planning and design effort, reflects input received throughout the process and addresses regulatory constraints with operating a closed MSW landfill. These efforts came to fruition in July 2010 when the North Wake Landfill District Park officially opened to the public. In April 2018, the Wake County Board of Commissioners voted to change the park’s name to Green Hills County Park.

Discover Nature at Wake County Parks and Preserves

NRID - Natural Resources Inventory Database

Want to explore the wildlife and plants seen at our Wake County Parks and Preserves from home? Check out the Wake County Natural Resources Inventory Database! Anyone can use it – whether you're a birdwatcher, teacher, student, citizen scientist or just curious about nature. Explore data and photos, print checklists, or discover fun nature facts here.