New Hope Creek Corridor Advisory Committee


Cornwallis-Erwin Natural Area/Open Space
(Component 8 of New Hope Corridor Open Space Master Plan)

Click to enlarge.


Description and Special Features

A 50+ acre tract on the SW corner of Erwin Rd. and Cornwallis Rd. was proposed as a possible site for a new public high school. Click here to read the Committee's July 17, 2009 letter to the Durham Public Schools about the planned high school.

In the News

Links to news stories:

    Text from 1991 New Hope Corridor Open Space Master Plan

    Existing Land Use & Ownership

    • Duke University
    • Privately-owned parcels along Mud Creek north of Erwin Road and east of Cornwallis Road

    Future Land Use

    Much of this Component is part of Duke Forest. The 1989 Duke University Land Resources Committee classified this area as Category 2, Research Project Land. This designation means that the land will continue to be used for current teaching and research activities. However, because these areas have less intensive academic usage at the present time, and research and teaching may or may not be their most appropriate use over the long term, the Land Resources Committee did not designate this category as valuable to Duke as Category 1 lands (i.e., to be kept for 50 years).

    Significant Resources

    The Mud Creek floodplain remains relatively wide even this close to its point of origin. One vegetation site has been identified in this section, the Eastern Mud Creek Hardwood Slopes (see Appendix E of Master Plan). Because the Cornwallis Road/Erwin Road intersection is prominently visible to travelers, it constitutes an important visual resource. As land continues to be developed in this vicinity (especially to the west), preserving the wooded quality of this major intersection will be extremely important.

    Recommendations for Protection & Use

    • Create a bicycle and pedestrian trail along Mud Creek through the floodplain to connect with the trail at NC 751.
    • Negotiate with Duke University to preserve as open space Duke Forest land at the intersection of Cornwallis Road and Erwin Road. Negotiate an agreement with Duke University so that if Duke considers selling this land, the local governments will have the right of first refusal to purchase it for use as a natural area.
    • Acquire privately-owned land north of the Erwin-Cornwallis Road intersection that is not owned by Duke University, as indicated on Component 8 Map.
    • In the event the land becomes available through acquisition of rights or through outright purchase, the City of Durham should consider building facilities to meet those active recreational needs already identified by the City as being present in this area.