About Us

The purpose is Save Bolin Creek is to preserve and protect the health and ecology of Bolin Creek.  In particular we want to protect the unique two and a half mile stretch located north of Estes Drive Extension.  Here lies a  425 acre unbroken forest of stunning natural beauty, great historical significance, important ecological value and much needed urban serenity.  At odds with years of work to document the significance and protect this forest, a Consultant in 2009 hired by Carrboro recommended a transportation corridor, a concrete bikeway, straight through the middle of the forest.

Bolin Creek and its deep, surrounding forest have been called “our Great Smoky Mountains National Park” by N.C. Botanical Garden director Peter White due to the area’s biodiversity. Home to all kinds of wildlife, the creek area provides shelter for hawks, owls, herons, woodpeckers, box turtles, deer, beavers, raccoons and foxes. The creek itself harbors mussels and fish. The area is an urban wilderness, the last of its kind within our town’s borders, and features expansive, high-value upland and lowland forests, wetlands and a riparian zone. It also features a number of historical sites, including a former grist mill, an African-American beach during segregation, and a Civil War hiding place.  A more detailed position paper outlines why this 425 acre natural area should be left natural.

We see no reason to pave a sensitive natural area when direct bikeway routes are planned connecting Carolina North to points north along Seawell School Road and to central campus via the planned campus to campus bike connector.

In 2016, the Board of Aldermen is considering opening up a community discussion again for a paved road along the creek.   You can help! Sign the petition today.

15 Responses to About Us

  1. mary sonis says:

    this is indeed the last bit of wilderness within our town borders. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to preserve it? Just a little over 2 miles of land…can’t we keep pavement off this small natural treasure?

  2. Dickson Phillips says:

    Ever since the consultant’s recommendation was revealed in September, I have regularly stopped people down by the creek and asked them whether they were aware of the recommendation to pave, and whether they would like to see it paved. The answer to both questions has uniformly been emphatic NOs! It is indeed hard to understand how the proposal progressed as far as it did when a fully informed public so predominantly opposes the idea.

  3. Salli Benedict says:

    The Chapel Hill-Carrboro community is blessed with 2 gorgeous natural areas—Battle Creek Park and the Bolin Creek corridor between Estes Drive and Homestead Road. They are similar in many ways—creeks run through valleys and deep woods, and one has the feeling of being in the mountains, far away from roads, traffic, and concrete. In an era of ever dwindling natural areas, why would we NOT fight to preserve one of the last of our remaining natural areas? How would we feel if we didn’t fight for it? How would we tell our children and grandchildren about what used to be…and what was lost?

  4. Lauren Bromley Hodge says:

    Carrboro is a progressive community; preservation of natural resources and creation of alternative transportation routes (non-carbon producing methods of transportation) should be given equal weight. This should not be an “either/or” situation. A community like Carrboro – its citizens and alderman – should be able to meet the challenge of creating both a nature preserve at Bolin Creek, extending the legacy of the Adams tract, while also appropriately locating and building a much needed bike transportation path. This is responsible forward planning and stewardship of our fragile remaining natural world – answering both of these needs – not one at the expense of the other. This is the charge of our elected town officials. Protecting an oasis of natural beauty; home to wildflowers, hawks, owls, herons, woodpeckers, box turtles, deer, beavers, raccoons and foxes, even mussels and fish in the creek is our responsibility. Keeping and enjoying a place of natural calm and beauty in an urban setting seems like a necessity.

  5. David Wohl says:

    I am encouraged by the dialogue that has now been started and by Mayor Mark Chilton’s recent response to a letter in the Chapel Hill News arguing against a paved transit corridor along Bolin Creek.

    On January 13, 2009, Mayor Chilton replied that while short sections of pavement to connect Wilson Park and Estes Drive Extension and also Homestead Road to Chapel Hill High School were approved, “whether other parts of the greenway will be near the creek, near Seawell School Road or somewhere in between has not been decided”. He also pointed out that there was no funding for such a project and that given the time frame “the community will continue to have a lively debate about the merits of various possibilities”.

    This is a debate that is finally being started and now that word is spreading I think more will be engaged in the discussion. The Aldermen and the Mayor need to hear what the community really wants for this space and decide not on the grounds of readily available funding but on the will of the people whether a paved transit corridor through this forest is appropriate.

  6. John May says:

    How exactly will paving the trail endanger what already exists?? The trails are already grossly eroded, compacted, and muddy as all getout anytime we get a little bit of rain. Paving a greenway would solve these issues, as well as increase accessibility to the wonderful creek and its surroundings. You folks make it sound like they’re going to run a highway through the forest! Go have a stroll down the greenway by the Chapel Hill community park and tell me that it’s not a peaceful, secluded experience – pavement and all.

    As far as I’m concerned, the whole movement to prevent this is one more Not In My Backyard situations, where homeowners that live by the creek are not interested in others using “their” resource. Note that Dave Otto supports the paved trail, and I put *a lot* more creedence in his opinion than that of abutting homeowners.

    • mary sonis says:

      Dear Mr. May, The trail is indeed quite muddy…and I am glad to see the mud. The depressions in the trail are breeding grounds for our amphibians. On Wednesday, I heard the first Chorus Frogs of the Spring on the trail. They breed in those muddy temporary pools. Last year, I saw a pair of Mallard ducks eating tadpoles from the puddles. It is all a chain of connected species. Pavement will eliminate those breeding spots. The widening of the trail to meet DOT standards will take out sections of vegetation that provide cover for all the White Throated Sparrows , Song Sparrows, and Hermit Thrush. Development changes the ecology of the land. When the land floods, the water is cleaned as it slowly seeps into the ground. We should be clear that any development of the area will be detrimental to the inhabitants of the Creek. The Wildflowers that grow on the trail borders will be replaced by gravel. This means fewer Butterflies (which feed on native plants). This means fewer caterpillars to feed our birds. Nature does not require pavement to carry on …humans find pavement convenient, and it keeps our shoes dry…but our propensity for altering the environment comes at a great cost. We are simply trying to preserve a beautiful natural resource.

      • John May says:

        I have seen no proof of the supposed 10 feet of gravel on either side of the trail that will be used. The trail from the Chapel Hill Community Park does not have such. The Greenways report does not include such in its plans.

        I highly doubt the mud pits in the trail are breeding grounds for amphibians when folks are running and biking through said puddles. I certainly would think that the water around the current trail is a breeding ground, which would remain as we’re talking a 10 foot path, which is no wider than most spots currently. Additionally, there is no water seeping into the ground along the current path with how compressed the soil is.

        I still see no proof of any major environmental impacts of paving a path that is already so compacted, though I would certainly be interested in reading any *hard facts* that can be presented. I do see that more people would get to use the path as a result, which may be disturbing to some folks. However, only by having more people use this resource will it ever be preserved in the long term – if you remain exclusive as to who can and can’t use it, it will eventually turn into condos, mark my words.

    • David Wohl says:

      Dear John,

      I am no abutting homeowner or one inclined to butt heads, nor am I geologist, but I am not as convinced as you that paving the creek trail will “solve” the issues of erosion or run-off. It is my experience that the puddles that form after a rain on this trail disappear faster than those on my street. What will happen with the flow of water and the status of the earth adjacent to a concrete path is a real concern and the burden of proof should be that this would not be damaging and problematic instead of assuming all will be fine.

      Your comparison to what is proposed for Bolin Creek and the Chapel Hill Community Park greenway, is an important one. Only a small portion of that greenway runs right along the creek and, in my opinion, this section is the least attractive and safe area of that trail. The proposal you support has pavement along a considerable stretch of a creek surrounded on each side by hills.

      Further, the Chapel Hill Community Park greenway is indeed wonderful but it is a very different experience than walking in Bolin Forest and it is this difference that many people want to preserve. This is not a case of NIMBY. I for one do not want the forest to be exclusive and currently many people hike, bike dog walk, bird watch and stroll in this forest (with this debate perhaps many more will come to enjoy it). However, can it remain what it is if it is as walk-able as Franklin Street? I think not.

      We have now, I feel, a great opportunity to carefully and thoughtfully restore the trail without the use of concrete so that people can continue to use and appreciate a forest that, most can agree, is as close as we have in Carrboro and Chapel Hill to a natural sanctuary. In the end folks will have to decide if they want to see Bolin Forest bisected by a paved trail or if the Forest and its creek should be protected and maintained as a natural resource.

  7. Pingback: Tadpoles and other spring babies of Bolin Creek Trail « Save Bolin Creek

  8. dan heuser says:

    Help! I hear so much about the Bolin Creek extension that runs from Estes to Homestead, but cannot locate it on any map. How do I visit the site? Landmarks please! Thanks.

    • The bolin Creek valley under discussion can be accessed by going to Wilson Park and entering through the Adams Tract. Some enter near the railroad tracks on the right going west on Estes Drive. Once down to the creek walk north toward the highschool.

      Hope that helps.

  9. Christian says:

    The only thing I can say is nothing. So here are some pictures.


    Feel free to download them and use them as you wish.

  10. About entering the Bolin Creek area, in addition to the ways that Julie McClintock mentioned, you can also enter at various spots in the Bolin Creek and Spring Valley neighborhoods. Lots of people park and enter where there are some wide trails to enter.

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