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From Trash to Treasure: The Walnut Creek Wetlands

Just barely outside of Downtown Raleigh lies the Walnut Creek Wetlands area. For decades the area was neglected and served as a place to dump refuse, despite being home to more than 50 federally protected animal species. After several years of cleanup efforts, this past September saw the opening of the Walnut Creek Wetlands Center (above), designed by local architect Frank Harmon.

The center serves as an educational facility, with maps, guides, and other information on the wildlife and nature preserve.

The back of the newly constructed center has been described as “the longest porch in the south”. It gives a glimpse into the edge of the wetlands, and provides a nice spot to hear the various insects and animals that grow louder as the sun sets. Outfitted with several classrooms, it allows you to be a part of the area while learning.

The center serves as an entry point to the Walnut Creek Trail section of the Capital Area Greenway that winds around the wetlands. It’s a great place to spend the day, either walking or biking.

Walnut Creek was once the source of Raleigh’s drinking water supply.

Flowers line many parts of the Greenway trail.

This pair of daffodils sit alone in a big forest, also visible from the trail.

As you may expect from a wetlands area, there are plenty of beavers. You can see several examples of their handiwork.

The setting sun, the smell, and the sounds transported me to area that wasn’t Downtown Raleigh. Minutes after I was packing up my camera gear, a flock of about 10 geese flew directly overhead, then landed in the water. After landing, they proceeded to converse with one another via honking. Combined with the randomly placed sounds above the katydids, it was a wonderful experience.

The sounds in the air really pick up as the sun goes down.

The Wetlands Center is open until sunset every day except Monday.

View Dowtown To the Wetlands Center (by bike) in a larger map

It’s a quick drive from Downtown by car, and also a short one if traveling by bicycle. The newly constructed Little Rock Greenway Trail extension makes it an easy trip.

Stop by some time (I recommend near sunset) and visit a natural treasure in your own back yard.

Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson Street
Raleigh , NC 27610


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