Parks and Recreation

National Trails Day: Fan Branch & Morgan Creek Trail Connector Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The public is invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the trail project that connects the Fan Branch and Morgan Creek trails at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 7. The Town of Chapel Hill event coincides with National Trails Day.

The ceremony will take place at the new tunnel under Culbreth Road. The event will be led by Jim Orr, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, with Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Peter Calingaert, chair of the Morgan Creek Trail Concept Plan Committee, and Chris Berndt, chair of the Greenways Commission. A hike to Merritt's Pasture will follow the ceremony.

About the Trail Project

The Morgan Creek Trail Phase 2 project connects the existing Morgan Creek Trail on the north side of Morgan Creek to the existing 1.6 mile long Fan Branch Trail on the south side of Culbreth Road. The $1.5 million project creates the longest paved trail in Orange County at 2.4 miles.

The relatively short section of new trail has big impacts. It includes about 1,000 feet of trail, two bridges, and a pedestrian underpass of Culbreth Road. The southern end is located at the Dogwood Acres Drive parking lot in Southern Community Park, while the northern end is at a parking lot just east of Kingswood Apartments off of highway NC 54. A side trail provides access to the Merritt Pasture open space.

The total land area of Chapel Hill is 21.3 square miles, and about 11 percent is dedicated to parks and open space. The Town is working to complete more than 28 miles of greenways and trails that will allow pedestrians and bicyclists to access every part of town. The Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department provides numerous opportunities for self-enrichment, adventure, fellowship and quiet reflection.

View the Trail Map at

To Attend the Ribbon Cutting

Join the group at the Morgan Creek Trail parking lot off NC 54/Fordham Blvd. at 9:40 a.m. Saturday. The group will walk or bike about a half mile from the parking lot to the site of the ribbon cutting off Culbreth Road. Plan on a 15-minute walk to the ceremony site.

If the Morgan Creek Trail Parking Lot is filled, check for alternative parking in the gravel parking lot across the street from Merritt's Store on South Columbia Street (but please leave by 11:45 a.m. to accommodate their lunch rush) or use the street parking in Southern Village or park at Southern Community Park. If you are walking from the Southern Community Park, allow for about 25 minutes of travel time.

For more information or to receive special assistance, contact Bill Webster, assistant parks and recreation director, at 919-968-2819 or


Saturday, June 7, 2014 - 9:40am


Morgan Creek Trail parking lot off NC 54/Fordham Blvd

The Future of Chapel Hill's Parks and Greenways

Next Monday (February 18th), the Chapel Hill Town Council is holding a public hearing on two major planning documents for our town: the Parks and Greenways master plans. As chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, I can tell you that this day has been long in coming. Work on these plans began over two years ago, but staff was asked to wait until after the completion of the Chapel Hill 2020 visioning document to submit them for approval, so the plans could be as unified in their language as possible. When adopted, they will be considered part of the Town's comprehensive plan.

As Chapel Hill continues to grow (with a projected population of 70K by 2025), there is a need to conserve the open space the town has left, create better connectivity for non-vehicular transportation, and provide venues for citizens to engage in active, healthy lifestyles. Also, in most of the assessments that Town has done in the past few years, citizens have rated  trails and recreation opportunities as one of the Town's biggest needs. With these goals in mind, the two master plans recommend the following:

Parks master plan recommendations:
  • $12

Chapel Hill's New Parks and Recreation Master Plan: Your Input is Needed!

The Town of Chapel Hill's Parks and Recreation Department is starting the process of updating their master plan. The current plan is almost 9 years old, and is considered out-of-date. The Town is partnering with Site Solutions (a Charlotte-based firm) to develop the new plan, which will take into account the Town's changing needs and current economic situation.


Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.