Park and Trail Volunteer Service Projects

What are Projects to Improve Parks and Trails?

Initiatives for park and trail improvements are suggested by community volunteers as possible service and enhancement projects. When a person or organization contacts DPR with a desire to carry out a particular service or improvement initiative, these ideas can be made possible through the application process. Clearing invasive species, planting new flower beds or trees, building kiosks, and footbridges, or installing a waterway litter trap are all examples of past improvement projects completed by volunteers.

Who is eligible to take part?

Eagle Scouts, scouting units, faith-based organizations, civic organizations, or individuals who want to help with a volunteer park or trail improvement project are all welcome.

How do I get started?

Submit your application for a Park and Trail Improvement Project Permit at least 60 days before the desired project start date. 

Do all projects need to be approved? 

Yes! All projects require pre-approval by the department. 

We are excited that you wish to improve the park or trail, and we want to work with you to ensure that your efforts leave a lasting positive effect.  Therefore, DPR staff and if necessary, staff from other City departments, must approve your project application to ensure that the project complies with applicable safety, environmental, and legal restrictions, and that it is consistent with the overall design, use, and maintenance of the park or trail, and that the date does not conflict with activities scheduled for the facility.  Failure to get approval to move forward with an idea can result in immediate removal of materials, equipment, structures and/or any other aspects of the project.   

What information must I provide about the proposed project on the application?

Complete and detailed applications will move through the review process faster than others.  The more details you can provide the better. Knowing what park or area of the park, the mile marker of a trail, or the exact location at a recreation center helps staff evaluate the proposal. Click here for additional guidance

Use of Volunteers

No matter how many volunteers you have – one or 100 – each one of them needs to be registered with the department. An online volunteer application must be completed by volunteers. Once the project is approved, more details on using volunteers on your project will be provided to you. To make sure that DPR's volunteer policies are followed, you will collaborate with the Resource Specialist, Sr. If your project requires particular skills or certifications one or more of your volunteers will need to be adept in that area.  


When requested, submitters must provide a certificate of liability insurance to Durham Parks and Recreation office no later than 15 business days prior to the start of the project.  This insurance should show general liability insurance for at least $1,000,000, also naming the City of Durham as an additional insured.

Next Steps?

The permit team will complete a preliminary review of the information contained in the application to determine feasibility.  If feasible, submitted applications are forwarded to internal stakeholders who this project may affect for review and feedback.  A DPR employee may get in touch with you if more details or clarification are required. Once stakeholder feedback is received, a recommendation is made to leadership who then approves or rejects projects based on their fit within the overall park and trail system. Submitters will receive an email informing them of the decision with instructions for the next steps.  

Contact Information

Email If you have any questions or would like to discuss the parks and trail application.

Submit an Application