Providing Raleigh with a "new sense of place"

Raleigh received a precious gift today. Our first Nature Preserve. The benefactress was accustomed to making special deliveries such as the Park dedicated in her honor today. As a pioneer in medicine Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD delivered over 8,000 babies. Dr. Annie was the first female doctor of obstetrics and gynecology in Raleigh and the first woman to serve as chief of staff at Rex Hospital and at Wake Med. She always put her patients first and the gift of this park provides a haven for generations to come.

View across the prairie at the Wilkerson Preserve

Dr. Annie passed away in 2005 at the age of 91 and in her will gave the City of Raleigh a 157-acre farm. The terms of the gift include:
“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 of research into methods of conservation, and shall not be used for general recreation or any other purpose inconsistent with the primary purposes set forth above.

The park shall be name the Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preseve Park.”

Located in at 11408 Raven Ridge Road, this park, as Raleigh Parks & Recreation Manager Stephen Bentley put it, “gives Raleigh a new sense of place.” A great lover of nature, Dr. Annie outlined specific themes in her will as goals for the park. Just walking from the Park Office (former family home) down to the pond you recognize that Mr. Bentley and the team at City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation have honored the wishes of Dr. Annie and the Wilkerson Family.

View of Wilkerson Preserve Pond

The preserve includes trails, prairie areas, picnic areas and thick forest to help visitors find their own sense of place. The preserve was designed using Low Impact Development (LID) and Sustainable principles. Permeable pavers are used as an alternative to more traditional hardscapes. The wastewater treatment and water reclamation system is unique and provides a model for future park projects. The system treats the wastewater from the Park Office and restrooms into recycled water used to flush the toilets and urinals in the restrooms. This is the first small scale Membrane Bio-Reactor reuse system of this type and application in the State of North Carolina. Visitors will also find a car charging station provided for electric vehicles.

But this is just the beginning. Phase 2 will bring additional features to the Wilkerson Nature Preserve as the park compliments and connects with the other services of the North district boundaries within the Falls Lake watershed. Discover the park yourself and take along a friend. Dr. Annie would like that.