Open Air Camp Road Properties Update as of October 1, 2022

Since sharing our statement with the Eno community in September, we continue to respond to individual questions, requests for clarification, and offers to help. We appreciate the support we’re seeing: for the neighbors involved, for the Eno River Association, and for the State Park. Even the frustrations we’ve heard are welcomed, as it helps us consider more paths to help the three families whose month-to-month leases cannot be renewed into 2023. Today, we offer these new updates and further clarification:  

We’ve held property on Open Air Camp Road since the 1980s with the sole intention of turning it over to the Eno River State Park. As such, no renter was promised the opportunity to stay beyond the time of the sale to the Park. Tenants have been on month-to-month leases until the Park was ready to take ownership; the Park is ready now. It’s outside of the Eno’s mission to continue renting these homes. After the Park owns them, we understand they intend to offer them as no- to low-cost housing for park staff, as housing is key to their compensation package. The Eno River Association has helped grow the park to 4,300 acres; now we must support the Park’s ability to retain exceptional staff to manage these acres, within the State’s restricted budget.

We announced last month that for three of our tenants, we would be unable to renew their month-to-month lease after November. NC State Parks has extended the leases for the three tenants to December 31, instead of November 30.

In addition, we are supporting these three tenants by waiving 3-4 months of rent owed, serving as a reference in their application for new housing, contacting rental agencies and realtors about housing opportunities, offering supplies for packing and moving, and activating our Eno community regarding the specific needs we’ve heard. And as mentioned above, the State Park has extended their monthly lease from the original November 30 date to December 31. Our outreach to these three families has included emails, phone calls, and letters in addition to the notifications sent earlier in September. Two tenants have not responded to our outreach, however, we have been in productive conversations with one tenant. 

Right now, we are asking for your help in assisting this tenant. They are currently looking for a 4-bedroom rental home in North Durham for less than $2,000 a month, with a lease beginning in November or December. Please email any resources or leads to Please reach out, also, if you feel called to help with other, specific needs for these families.

Outreach to the four tenants whose leases can’t be renewed after July 31, 2023 has not been the same, as we are prioritizing the three families who have the earlier move-out date. The four tenants who are able to stay thru July have received an initial letter from the property manager in early September regarding the timeline and will hear from us regarding more support before the end of the year. 

There might be more we can do; the Eno team is talking daily about it. Again, we welcome any leads on housing, especially those that fit the criteria shared above. Please reach out to:

UPDATES: Save Black Meadow Ridge

UPDATE: Tomorrow’s (9/27/22) Black Meadow Ridge zoning appeal before the Board of Adjustment has been postponed.

Parties involved in the Black Meadow Ridge zoning appeal have agreed tocontinue the Board of Adjustment hearing to a later date. This postponement will allow parties to continue negotiations, to maximize land and water protections. The new date has not yet been selected, but we will announce it as soon as we can. It might be as soon as December 13, 2022. Thank you for your continued interest in this project adjacent to West Point on the Eno Durham City Park.

Read the complete Annotated Reasons to Save Black Meadow Ridge, authored and edited by Jennifer and Kerstin Nygard.

Copies are available for a small donation to the Margaret Nygard Land Acquisition Fund. Please email us to learn more.

Act to Save Black Meadow Ridge: A letter from the Nygard Family

Margaret Nygard began her lifelong work over 50 years ago, protecting the Eno River and the land around it. Her family will always care about the Eno. The Nygards have written the urgent message below which will be printed in the Indy Weekly for the Triangle community to rally behind.

Reasons to Save Black Meadow Ridge at West Point on the Eno City Park


1. Protection of the water quality in a critical watershed area which affects the Eno River, the source of drinking water for Falls Lake reservoir in Raleigh and the future Teer Quarry in Durham.

2. Preservation of the nationally significant Eno River Aquatic Habitat which contains endangered and threatened species, among them, the Neuse River waterdog, the yellow lamp mussel, the Roanoke bass aka the red-eye, the panhandle pebblesnail (Virginia pebblesnail), and the Atlantic pigtoe.

3. Preservation of the extensive wildlife corridor provided by the contiguous parklands of West Point on the Eno City Park and the Eno River State Park within our increasingly urbanized region. A conservation model for the state, this wildlife corridor gives animals passage into four counties and runs some 20 miles on the Eno, reaching beyond to the Falls of the Neuse Gamelands.

4. Protection from increased flooding at West Point, which will bring silt and pollution to natural habitat and will potentially damage the historic site, in particular the milldam and gristmill.

5. Preservation of a sizable unspoiled old forest, which mitigates climate change on a local level and provides the benefits of cleaning the water and air.

6. Renewed commitment by the City to the 50 year old conservation achievement of saving West Point on the Eno which has been of immeasurable benefit to Durham, the Triangle, and the State. By preserving Black Meadow Ridge as an intrinsic, historic part of West Point, the City will continue to protect the nationally significant cultural and natural heritage of West Point on the Eno City Park.


7. Providing equitable access to natural areas and nature trails by expanding the healthful quiet forest of West Point on the Eno City Park. As the city grows this park on the bus line provides access to an unspoiled, secluded natural place – an enhanced opportunity for all of Durham’s citizens to explore and enjoy.

8. Continuation of the water-related activities of swimming, fishing, wading and canoeing in the clean Eno River, which is dependent on keeping environmental protections in place. If the wildlife habitat is preserved, human use is enhanced, because the water is clean and safe for such recreation. Should the river’s water quality be degraded, these activities cannot continue to be safely enjoyed.


9. Preservation of the historical identity of West Point on the Eno, keeping the rural character of 404 acres free of the intrusion of modern construction on the view-shed and preventing damage and alteration of the original topography, the historic mill, and its historic waterworks and the milldams. This living history museum is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of Durham’s two Cultural Heritage Parks.

10. The preservation of an unspoiled place with Native American and African American history which predates the City and County of Durham. In 1878 Dilsey Holman, who had once been enslaved, bought 88 acres of this ridge, a notably large property for an African American woman in the time of Reconstruction.

11. Protection of the Holman Cemetery and preservation of the historic wagon trail which runs between the cemetery and the Buffalo Trail at West Point. Researchers are arriving at the conclusion that it was originally a slave cemetery, the final resting place for many from the enslaved families who once lived there in association with West Point Mill and the McCown homeplace.

12. Protection of the historic character of the home, darkroom and surroundings of the now internationally recognized photographer Hugh Mangum. His egalitarian photographs from the late Victorian period feature Black and White, young and old, rich and poor, side-by-side, for he welcomed all into his studio. He left us many scenic photographs of West Point, which include West Point Mill in the 1908 flood and the Sennett Hole, itself a millsite predating 1752.

For these and many more reasons, contact Durham city officials and tell them to do everything in their power to protect Black Meadow Ridge.  

Here are the email addresses you can use:

Mayor Elaine M. O’Neal: Elaine.O’

General address for City Council:

Individual Council Members:

Resolution Regarding Black Meadow Ridge

Read the full resolution as a pdf.

“…Now, therefore be it resolved that the Association for the Preservation of the Eno River Valley wholeheartedly hereby goes on record to support the preservation of Black Meadow Ridge and its addition to West Point on the Eno Durham City Park and further hereby strongly advocates against the building of the current proposed “Eno Village” development on Black Meadow Ridge and welcomes the opportunity to purchase the property at a fair and reasonable price.”

Honor her legacy with a donation to the Margaret C. Nygard Land Acquisition Fund

Named in honor of the Eno River Association founder, this memorial fund is our primary land acquisition tool — supporting the purchase of property and conservation easements along the Eno River. Donations made to this fund remain restricted for use in land acquisition and stewardship anywhere within our watershed. Make your gift today.

Please note: At this time, the developer is not entertaining the Association’s offer to purchase the property for appraised value. Therefore, donations made to the Margaret C. Nygard Fund will be pooled to support land acquisition throughout the watershed. The fund will be mobilized to support Blackmeadow Ridge if this situation changes.

Join the Eno River Association or Renew Your Membership

The Eno River Association is about the people. The Eno connects us – to nature, to each other, and to the shared goals of land protection, access to nature, and climate resilience. Join us in protecting parkland, safeguarding drinking water, conserving farms & forests, protecting plants & animals, and inspiring future generations by making a donation.


Renew your Membership

All gifts make a difference – a gift of $250 funds one student scholarship for iWalk the Eno Camp.


Become a Sustainer

With your monthly gift of $10 or more, we can present an educational program to 12 kids in our community.


Join the Wildflower Society

A gift of $500 or more helps to restore native plants at the Blue Indigo Preserve.

Bringing Eno River State Park to Downtown Hillsborough

The Eno River Association is facilitating the sale of over 200 acres near downtown Hillsborough from Classical American Homes Preservation Trust to the Archaeological Conservancy and the State to be added to Eno River State Park. Once complete, this transaction will increase Eno River State Park to over 4,700 acres in Durham and Orange counties.

The property includes Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail, the James M. Johnston Nature Preserve, parts of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and Hillsborough Riverwalk, and the remains of four known early settlements dating back to A.D. 1000, including an Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation village.

READ MORE about these natural, historical, and cultural treasures.

Eno River Association has expanded our Confluence Natural Area!

The Eno River Association is thrilled to announce two recent land protection efforts that will increase the total area and property buffers at its 200-acre Confluence Natural Area. The Association has purchased nearly 70 acres to the west of the West Fork Eno River and has protected an additional 25 acres with a conservation easement on the adjacent property. This acquisition furthers the protection of the Eno River, helps safeguard local drinking water for over half a million residents and businesses downstream, provides additional connectivity for wildlife, and expands future hiking opportunities.

The Confluence Natural Area is located northwest of Hillsborough, where the East and West Forks of the river meet to form the main stem of the Eno River. The Confluence provides visitors the opportunity for low-impact recreation, such as hiking, picnicking, and photography, 7-days a week from dawn until dusk. Currently, there are over two miles of hiking trails that lead you on a journey through early sessional fields of pollinator habitat, expansive agricultural fields, and forested riversides with glimpses of relics from past agricultural uses. The addition of protected land at the Confluence will allow the Association to connect more people with the river and this special place.

The Association will open this section to visitors after careful review of the site and updated management plan. It is anticipated that a bridge will be needed to connect it to the current trails and parking area. If you are interested in these trail building opportunities, sign up to become a stewardship volunteer!

This expansion further strengthens the Association’s role in supporting public preserves, a mission-expansion made during the initial purchase of the Confluence Natural Area in 2007. Prior to that, the Association’s goal was to transition the lands it protected to government agencies and parks departments who would open them to the public, such as with the creation of Eno River State Park. The opening of the Confluence Natural Area has allowed the Association to expand on its mission to engage the public in learning about, exploring, and protecting the Eno River, at the start of its 41-mile journey to Falls Lake. The property is visited by thousands each year, and the Association hosts nature programs, Eno River Field Station teen summer camp, and other events at the property.  Since the initial acquisition in 2007, the Association has expanded the preserve three times – 2008, 2017, and now in 2022 – bringing the grand total to over 270 acres.

Funding for this purchase was made possible by generous donors such as the late Joyce Brown of Chapel Hill. Ms. Brown’s gift to the Association upon her death ensured that land preservation in Orange County could be a priority for our future work. The Roberta and Herman Brown Land Preservation Fund is one of the several land acquisition funds to which you can donate, when you make a gift to the Association.

Statement on the Open Air Camp Road properties

The Eno River Association would like to acknowledge the recent questions we’ve received surrounding several properties on Open Air Camp Road in Northern Durham.

A core part of our mission is to support and grow Eno River State Park by purchasing land identified in the Eno River State Park Master Plan for protection and expansion. As a nonprofit entity, we are able to act quickly to protect the land and hold it for future transfer, when Park resources are available to purchase and maintain the properties. We have been instrumental in acquiring land and conservation easements to grow the Park to its current 4,500-acre footprint.

From 1984 to 2001, the Eno River Association acquired several parcels on Open Air Camp Road that are included in the Eno River State Park Master Plan, with the sole intention of transferring them to the Park. The approximately 18 acres include seven rental units. We have managed month-to-month leases on these properties and provided affordable housing for several families in North Durham, until the Park was ready to acquire and use the property.

The Association is now in the process of transferring this land to North Carolina State Parks. Our property management company, V.S. Rich Property Services, Inc, notified three of the seven tenants via letter on September 7 that their month-to-month leases will not be renewed after November 30, 2022. The remaining four tenants were also notified in early September that they will continue to have their leases renewed monthly until July 31, 2023, after which date they will no longer be renewed.

As Durham neighbors, we recognize that our city is facing a challenge in providing affordable housing for residents. We regret the impact this will have on these residents, especially when housing is increasingly scarce. We have connected these families with resources that support affordable home ownership and rentals, both through our networks and those of our property manager. For tenants in good standing with leases ending in November, we have also waived rental fees for two months.

A press release with more information about the transition of this site will be shared after negotiations are completed and the land is transferred to North Carolina State Parks. For any further questions, please contact us at or 919-620-9099.

Trailside Stewardship Signs

Join Eno River Association staff and hundreds of community volunteers working year-round to protect natural ecosystems and increase access to natural spaces in the Eno River basin. No matter what your commitment-level, there are opportunities for you!

Sign-up to volunteer: Fill out the form and check the box next to Stewardship and Trail Maintenance. You’ll be signed up to receive notifications about our about-monthly public stewardship workdays. Commitment level: At your leisure.

Adopt a Trail by becoming a Trail or Site Steward: Monitor your adopted trail regularly, and conduct maintenance and improvements. Training required. Commitment level: At least monthly on your own schedule.

Organize a Day of Service for your company or community group: email or contact Kim Livingston at (919) 620-9099 ext. 206 to discuss timing and project availability. Commitment level: One-time.

Learn more about all these opportunities on the Stewardship page of our website. If you have other questions or ideas for how to support the parks, trails, and natural areas along the Eno with your volunteer service, email or contact Kim Livingston at (919) 620-9099 ext. 206. Thank you!



Board & Committee Nominations

We are an Association built of, by, and for our community — and we need you to join us in ensuring our leadership reflects this!
We are prioritizing increasing the representation of racial and ethnic diversity in our leadership, and strongly encourage candidates from BIPOC communities to apply.
Additionally, we are also seeking individuals with the following skills for our next board class:
  • Accounting or financial management experience
  • Environmental Justice experience
  • Climate Change and Conservation experience
  • Real estate experience and networks
If you have other skills and experience you are ready to put to work for the Eno, please consider applying to serve on one of over a dozen program committees, including: Education, Festival, Land & Stewardship, Fundraising, Nominating, Calendar, Land Use & Advocacy, and more. See the full list of committees.