Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve Park
In February 2006, the City of Raleigh received an amazing gift of 157 acres of land along Falls Lake to create its first designated nature preserve. Dr. Annie Louise Wilkerson, a renowned Raleigh doctor with many pioneering achievements in her 53-year career in medicine, stipulated in her will that the park be maintained as a "nature preserve park" used for the primary purpose of nature and wildlife education.
Park Features | Map
Phase One of park development has been completed and consists of a park preserve office, an educational shelter and restrooms. The restrooms utilize an innovative water conservation and re-use system. One of the existing residences on the park was re-purposed into the park office, which has a small solar array, car charging station and permeable parking area. In the future, Dr. Annie's former residence will be converted into a visitor center with indoor classrooms and exhibits. The nature preserve consists of oak-hickory forest and open fields that will be maintained as Piedmont prairie. Three farm ponds and five perennial streams shelter various aquatic species.
The park is unique in that it is set aside for the sole purpose of helping visitors connect with nature through programs, hikes and self study. The park will be managed to preserve existing natural communities and native species.
Dr. Annie's will outlines the activities that can occur at the park: "That the property herein conveyed shall be maintained as a nature preserve park, and used for the primary purpose of nature and wildlife education, the study and research into methods of conservation, and shall not be used for general recreation or any other purpose inconsistent with the primary purposes set forth."
Hiking and wildlife watching are the main activities at the nature preserve. Visitors are encouraged to follow a "leave no trace" ethic. A loop trail through the oak-hickory forest (0.6 mi) has been developed. Visitors will also enjoy several mown paths through the meadows that lead to a one-acre farm pond. Other trails are planned for the future, including a trail through rocky outcrops that showcase the geology of the area.
The park is administered through the Nature Program of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, and its mission is to expose residents of all ages to the natural resources of our capital city through education, school programs, camps, public programs and events. Park staff provides programming for the public and for organized groups at the park. Public programming for individuals is listed in RecLink. In our first year of operation, we will be creating programs for schools and groups. Group size is typically around 30 students. Please contact the Park Manager to discuss programming needs for your class or group. Call at least two weeks in advance to schedule a hike or program for your group.
Cost of Programs/Admission
The park has no admission fees. Some nature programs are free and others have a small fee to cover the cost of materials.
The park office, including educational shelter and restrooms meet all ADA guidelines. Currently all the trails are natural surface, but accessible trails are planned for the future.
Eco Region(s) Piedmont (Ecoregion 45)
River Basin(s) Neuse River Basin
Dr. Annie L. Wilkerson gave her 157-acre farm to the citizens of Raleigh for nature study and wildlife watching. Please help us protect our treasure.
- Stay on the trails.
- Leave No Trace - take your litter home.
- Respect all plants and animals.
- Keep pets on a leash under your control at all times.
- Pick up after your pet.
- Protect yourself from ticks and chiggers.
- Leave by park closing hours.
- Enjoy nature's peace and beauty!
Closing time is approximate. The park closes at DUSK each day. The time will vary throughout the year.
5229 Awls Haven Road
Raleigh, NC 27614
Park location for GPS
11408 Raven Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27614