Parks, Recreation, and Equal Opportunity

On Thursday May 10th,  Frank White of the Recreation Advisory Commission delivered a presentation on Durham’s Department of Parks and Recreation public facilities, annual events, and available programs. The range is far wider than you could ever imagine. White’s slideshow presentation covered everything from camping options to the Pooch Plunge and Barktoberfest.

The Recreation Advisory Commission’s (RAC’s) RAC’s mission is to advocate for the Durham Parks and Recreation department and the Durham community.

Parks, Recreation, and Equal Opportunity

by: Josh Factor

Under the supervision of Durham’s Department of Parks and Recreation, the Bull City is home to sixty-eight park facilities, including two historic heritage parks, two city lakes, nine rec centers, five fitness centers, four special use facilities, over thirty miles of trail, two indoor pools and three outdoor pools. The city also hosts celebrations for various holidays throughout the year such as Christmas, Kwanzaa, Independence Day, and Easter particulars include the Holiday Fun Fest and the downtown Holiday Parade, the Kwanzaa celebration, the Martin Luther King Day celebration, Easter Egg Hunts, and the July 4th celebration.

We ask you, our readers, does this list serve our diverse community well?

Burch Avenue Park

Burch Avenue Park

During his presentation, White discussed how Durham tries to have something to offer for people of all ages, genders, abilities, and backgrounds. One of our purposes in attending the meeting was to examine this claim.


For older people, Department of Parks and Recreation has a variety of classes, hosts the Durham Senior Games, holds an annual Senior Holiday Party, curates focused mature adult trips, and “Silver Arts”, an annual festival that collaborates with artists, art organizations, and community partners designed to integrate the arts into the senior lifestyle.



The Walltown Center

The Walltown Center


The Walltown Center

The Walltown Center

For thrill seekers Department of Parks and Recreation offers both a low and high ropes course. It also provides “adventure” classes in spelunking, paddling, and camping. The City of Durham, through Parks and Rec, also manages over thirty miles of trails, including the American Tobacco Trail which connects three counties.

Durham is also part of the East Coast Greenway which runs from Calais, Maine on the Canadian border all the way south to Key West, Florida.

White also said the city currently has grand plans to build another walking/biking trail along the Duke Beltline. It would create an 18 acre linear park along the abandoned railroad track.

Durham Department of Parks and Recreation also plays host to the annual Bimbe cultural festival which is on-going right now through May 19th . Bimbe is in its 48th year of celebrating African and African American history, culture, arts, and traditions.

White also discussed some of the other cultural heritage programs Parks and Rec offers; such as classes on beekeeping and essential oils and activities from corn husk toymaking to sunset hiking.   

White noted that Durham is also home to Lake Michie, a large 480-acre reservoir located near Bahama. As someone who’s visited there before, I can say it is a great place to go swimming, boating, or fishing. They have picnic tables where you can have lunch and for the little tykes there’s plenty of wide open space to run around and play. The Recreation Advisory Commission slideshow gave us some of the highlights.  

Additionally White told the audience that Durham offers quite a few events for those with special needs such as the Durham Special Olympics, as well as season special camps and year-round after-school programs.

White also discussed the Durham Parks Foundation, a nonprofit agency that was founded in 2015. Their mission is to preserve, strengthen and expand parks, trails, open space and recreational opportunities in Durham through diverse community involvement, fundraising, partnerships and education.

Is Durham successful making an effort to offer inclusive events and programs for all its residents?

We want to hear from you.

email us your comments for publication at clarioncontent at gmail dot com.


Durham Parks and Recreation publishes Play Now, a monthly magazine, that provides information on upcoming Durham Parks and Recreation events, programs, and activities. If you’re interested in learning more, you can go to or stop by any of the DPR recreation centers or administrative offices to pick up a copy.

Josh Factor

Josh Factor is an avid young writer and a native of Durham, NC. He is a 2016 graduate of Elon University, where he majored in English.

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