Wake County’s Newest Nature Preserve Opens Saturday

Sandy Pines Preserve, located in eastern Wake County, will officially open to the public on Saturday, Oct. 23. The 563-acre preserve is the largest single tract of land owned by Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space.

Photos can be found here.

“We’ve made it known that here in Wake County, we are committed to protecting open space, even in the midst of rapid growth,” said Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson. “This beautiful preserve provides yet another place for residents and visitors to escape into nature and experience Wake County’s natural wonders.”

Sandy Pines Preserve offers 6.5 miles of walking and equestrian trails that run through a variety of habitats. Visitors can explore pine forests, mixed hardwood-pine forests, creeks, a pond and many open fields. Some species that call the preserve home include beavers, white-tailed deer, wood ducks, red-shouldered hawks, indigo buntings, wild turkeys and a variety of frogs, salamanders and reptiles.

The equestrian-friendly nature of the preserve makes it unique. Currently, only the American Tobacco Trail and Umstead State Park offer public riding locations in Wake County.

“We’ve heard many times that the equestrian community would like more places to ride in Wake County, and we’re excited that Sandy Pines Preserve can meet that need,” said Chris Snow, director of Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space.

Equestrian-specific features include pull-through parking for trailers, eye hooks for tying horses, hoof-friendly trails, mounting blocks and benches, and signs and maps at horse height along the trail. “Share the Trail” signage will guide equestrians and hikers on best practices, ensuring a safe experience for everyone.

A Commitment to Open Space
Sandy Pines Preserve is Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space’s third nature preserve. It is the latest step on the county’s path to protecting open space and natural areas.

Wake County’s Consolidated Open Space Plan – the first of its kind in North Carolina – lays out a strategy to protect 30% of Wake County’s land area as permanent open space. That’s roughly 165,000 acres, or about 125,000 football fields. The county is currently more than a quarter of the way to that goal – with 66,000 acres protected.

Ribbon Cutting
Media are invited to attend a small ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 23. The program will include remarks from:

  • Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson;
  • Wake County Manager David Ellis; and
  • Wake County Open Space Manager Deborah Fowler.


Following the formal program, staff will lead a short hike to the pond and Longleaf pine restoration area, pointing out nature and wildlife along the way. Speakers will be available for interviews.

Visit the Preserve
The preserve, located at 7201 Doc Procter Road in Wendell, is open on Saturdays and Sundays through March 31. From April 1 to Aug. 31, it will be open seven days a week. Hours are 8 a.m. to sunset.

There are currently no restrooms or water fountains at the preserve, so visitors are encouraged to plan ahead.

Learn more at wakegov.com/sandypinespreserve or on the preserves Facebook page at facebook.com/sandypinespreserve.

Press Release