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Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve

Nature Center

Reedy Creek Park

Center for Biodiversity Studies

Nature Explore Zone 

Reedy Creek Nature Preserve protects 737 acres of natural, forested habitat within Reedy Creek Park. There are over ten miles of hiking trails in the nature preserve for the outdoor enthusiast, giving visitors the opportunity to explore a variety of terrains, while enjoying scenic views of small lakes, forests, fields, streams, and wildlife. Reedy Creek Nature Preserve is also home to Reedy Creek Nature Center and the Dr. James F. Matthews Center for Biodiversity Studies.

 


Location and Directions


Reedy Creek Nature Center and Nature Preserve is located at 2900 Rocky River Road in northeastern Mecklenburg County. Get Directions


Getting Around Inside the Preserve

Reedy Creek Nature Preserve is a large facility. It is over 1 mile from the entrance to the nature center (see map). Visitors can walk between the nature preserve and the amenities in adjacent Reedy Creek Park such as the athletic fields, picnic shelters, or playgrounds, but most prefer to drive. To help minimize traffic with the preserve, visitors with bicycles are encouraged to utilize them to travel from one amenity to another. Please remember all bikes must remain on paved roads or pit gravel trails and are not allowed on natural surface hiking trails.
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Amenities
 

Anglers will find numerous fishing opportunities in both Dragonfly and Slider Ponds, those 16 years of age and older must have a NC State Fishing License. The adjacent 116-acre Reedy Creek Park offers three reservable large (80 person) picnic shelters (#s 1, 2 & 4), a reservable indoor (150 person) picnic shelter (# 3), five reservable small (15 person) picnic shelters (# 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9), one small non-reservable picnic shelter (# 0), numerous picnic tables, an 18-hole disc golf course, two volleyball courts, a basketball court, a playground and swing garden, two softball fields, a soccer field, restrooms, and Barkingham Park dog park. 

Reedy Creek Nature Center features live, native animals, an exhibit hall, a classroom, and a gift shop. Outside, visitors can stop and observe nature in action at the National Wildlife Federation certified Backyard Habitat Garden which includes bird feeding stations, rain garden, and a demonstration compost area. Self-interpretive trail guides are available for several nature preserve trails. 
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Robinson Rockhouse RuinsHistory and Description

The area that is now known as Reedy Creek Nature Preserve has long been used by humans. Native American artifacts have been discovered from the preserve dating back to the Woodland period. John Selwyn received a land grant from King George and occupied the area from around 1745 to 1767. The land was sold to the Robinson family and the Robinson Rock House was built in the late 1700's. Over the next 200 years the land was subdivided and owned or occupied by several families including the Teeters, Norketts, Griers, Wallaces, and McLaughlins. 

In 1981, the City of Charlotte purchased the land and created Reedy Creek Park. Ownership of the property was transferred to Mecklenburg County after the merger of the City and County Park and Recreation Departments in 1991. Reedy Creek Nature Center (formally Reedy Creek Environmental Center) was built shortly thereafter in 1992.

Reedy Creek Nature CenterIn 1997, with the passing of the Nature Preserve Master Plan, the area was separated into Reedy Creek Park encompassing approximately 125 acres and Reedy Creek Nature Preserve encompassing, to date, approximately 727 acres. The nature preserve's rolling topography includes mixed pine and hardwood forests, open fields, three lakes, and the headwaters and two tributaries of Reedy Creek. The preserve also protects the South Fork of Reedy Creek natural heritage site, a unique area harboring an unusual assemblage of plant species more typical of the mountain region. The historical significance of the area is also well represented with cabin ruins and the remains of the Robinson Rockhouse.
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Trails

Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve has 10 miles of trails offering hikers and nature enthusiasts the opportunity to explore a variety of terrains while enjoying scenic views of the small lakes, forests, fields, and streams. One of the most popular routes in the preserve leads to the ruins of the Robinson Rockhouse, built circa 1790.

Mountain bikes are permitted only on pit graveled trails and paved roads within the preserve. Dogs are welcome on preserve trails, but must remain on a 6-foot or shorter leash at all times. All trails are marked with color symbols. Download a full color trail map.
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Flora and Fauna
 

Reedy Creek Nature Preserve preserves habitat for 109 species of birds, 15 species of mammals, 20 species of reptiles, and 12 species of amphibians. Kentucky Warblers have been documented during the breeding season in the dense undergrowth along the Reedy Creek floodplain.

This species is in decline and is ranked as a "high" priority for conservation by the Southeast Partners in Flight working group. This is the last known potential breeding location remaining for this species within the County. Among the other unusual species that have been found at the Preserve are: Conjurer's nut, pale hickory, spotted salamander, Gulf Coast spiny softshell turtle, and Broad-winged Hawk. The preserve protects the South Fork of Reedy Creek natural heritage site which represents the best example of a Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest habitat remaining in Mecklenburg County. For a complete list of documented species, click here to download our vertebrate checklist (240kB PDF) or contact us at 704-432-6459.
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Affiliations


Reedy Creek Nature Center is a proud member of the North Carolina Association of Environmental Education Centers and supports Environmental Educator's of North Carolina. The Nature Center is also a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Water Quality Coalition, is a certified National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat, and serves as an ambassador for Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's Project FeederWatch.


water quality coalition       Mecklenburg Audubon     NCAEEC

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