Durham Open Space and Trails Commission (DOST)

The Durham Open Space and Trails Commission is an advisory board that advises the City Council and the Board of County Commissioners on matters relating to the preservation of open space and trails. In order to provide recreational and environmental benefits for the citizens of Durham, the commission promotes the preservation of valuable open spaces, natural vegetation and stream valleys within the urban and rural environment, and the development of trails and other appropriate recreational and transportation facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. The commission promotes the protection of the natural environment where appropriate to serve the public interest, with equal consideration for long-term care of the environment and the short-term pressures of growth. In doing so, the commission fosters the wise use of the City's and County's natural resources and strives to involve all segments of the Durham community.

The commission’s duties related to open space preservation and trails development consist of:

  • Formulate and recommend to the Governing Bodies plans, goals, objectives, policies, standards, programs and priorities.
  • Advise the council and commission on public and private development decisions.
  • Formulate and recommend to the governing bodies proposals for acquisition and capital improvements.
  • Educate the residents of Durham about City and County programs.
  • Submit an annual report to the council and commission about the activities of the commission.
  • Encourage gifts, donations, bequests and easements and raise funds for open space and trails through the sale of items which increase public awareness about City and County programs.
  • Assist in the management of the County's Matching Grants Program.
  • Advise the City and County administrative staff.
  • Perform any other duties as the Council and/or the Board of County Commissioners may from time-to-time delegate to the Commission.

Membership Requirements

The commission is composed of a minimum of 16 voting members, and a maximum of 30 voting members, the exact number to be determined by the commission. All members must reside in Durham County.

Eight members shall be appointed by the County Commissioners, representing:

  • (1) Oak Grove/Carr Township
  • (1) Mangum Township
  • (1) Lebanon Township
  • (1) Triangle Township
  • (4) At Large (May Be City Residents)

Eight members shall be appointed by the City Council from within the Durham city limits, and representative of:

  • (1) Ward 1
  • (1) Ward 2
  • (1) Ward 3
  • (5) At Large 

One member shall be appointed from each of the following elected or appointed boards:

  1. The Durham Board of County Commissioners, appointed by the Chairman of the Board;
  2. The Durham City Council, appointed by the Mayor;
  3. The Durham Planning Commission, appointed by the Chairman of the Planning Commission; and
  4.  The City of Durham Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, appointed by the Chairman of the Advisory Committee.

Up to 10 members may be appointed by the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission. These members may represent a special interest or professional focus which the Commission feels would be helpful in fulfilling its duties and responsibilities.

Persons serving in the following positions shall serve as ex-officio members of the commission:

  1. The director of City Parks and Recreation Department, or his or her designee;
  2. The director of the City-County Planning Department, or his or her designee; and
  3. The County Matching Grants Program Administrator.
  4. The County Open Space and Real Estate Administrator.

The ex-officio members shall not have the power to vote on decisions by the commission.

Meeting Schedule

The Durham Open Space and Trails Commission meets the third Wednesday of each month. Meetings begin at 7:00 pm and are generally held virtually, with some noted exceptions. See the schedule page for more details.

A link to the meeting can be found on the DOST Agenda for each month.

Board members must be willing to meet one evening a month and serve without compensation. Applications for appointment can be obtained from the City or County Clerk’s office. 

Agendas & Minutes
Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
View Most Recent Agendas and Minutes