Open Space Program

The Open Space Program was established in 2000, along with the Open Space Committee, when the original Open Space Report was adopted by the Board of Commissioners in July of 2000. This report sumarizes the activities of the Open Space Program, which seeks to enhance the County's water quality, preserve wildlife habitats, and protect natural areas for the enjoyment of current and future residents. On April 16, 2009, the Board of County Commissioners adopted the an updated 2009 Guilford County Open Space Report. Both reports can be found under the Documents section of the website.

2004 Parks & Open Space Bond Referendum
The voters of Guilford County approved a bond referendum in November 2004 that provided $10 million to establish nature preserves throughout the County. Preserves are often acquired through bargain sales, where the landowner makes a charitable donation for a portion of the value of the land. 
As of 2012, the Open Space Program has protected over 1,100 acres as nature preserves. Many of these Preserves tie into regional trail efforts such as the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway and the Haw River Trail. Some Preserves are also adjacent to schools to facilitate environmental education and low-impact recreation for youth.

Benefits of Open Space
The functions and benefits of open space range from environmental to economic, from conservation to recreation, from corridors for woldlife to paths for people, from buffers to connectors, from quality of water to quality of life, and from soothing the eye to soothing the soul. – Guilford County Open Space Report, 2000.

Protects water quality
Reduces flood damage
Recharges ground and surface water
Improves air quality
Preserves plant and animal habitats
Enhances sound economic growth
Connects people with nature
Provides visual and noise buffers
Sustains local food production
Provides scenic corridors
Offers low-impact recreational opportunities
Provides a legacy for future generations

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