Since its acquisition by the Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC) in 2010, the George and Julia Brumley Family Nature Preserve has been a labor of love for those who helped build it. Last month, Orange County welcomed the new outdoor spot just 2 miles southeast of Hillsborough with an Earth Day grand opening. With over 15 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, the 613-acre preserve was designed specifically with sustainability, preservation and education in mind.
According to executive director Sandy Sweitzer, “The opening of this beautiful preserve to the public reflects years of work by hundreds of people and supporters of TLC, open space and conservation.” The seventh of TLC’s public nature preserve projects, the Brumley Preserve’s name honors one supportive couple in particular.
Back in the 1990s, Julia Preston Brumley and George W. Brumley III purchased some land that was slated to be a subdivision off of New Hope Church Road. Julia, a Chapel Hill native, and George were environmentalists and longtime advocates for nonprofits like TLC and the North Carolina Nature Conservancy and their goal was to manage the land for conservation and uses like farming and forestry. Sadly, Julia and George along with their two children and George’s parents, George II, a Duke professor, and Jean Brumley, passed away in 2003 in a plane crash during a family trip to Kenya. The Zeist Foundation, which honors the members of the Brumley family, then sold the land to TLC in 2010.
“It’s especially rewarding to see our work continuing in the Triangle with the opening of a place as special as Brumley, which is within a 30-minute drive of almost a million residents,” says TLC Board Chair and Parker Poe Partner Russell Killen. The preserve will be open daily year-round from dawn to dusk.
Photography by Chris Fowler