William L. Flournoy Jr. is considered the "father of the Raleigh Greenways". In the 1970's, as a graduate student at NCSU, Flournoy created a thesis document that specifically described how greenways should be built using floodplain zoning and city-acquired easements. The plan detailed the environmental as well as aesthetic benefits of greenways and is thought to be the first work of its kind.
Flournoy founded the Triangle Land Conservancy and the Triangle Greenway Council. In 2010, he was awarded the LaGasse Medal for his contributions to the management and conservancy of natural resources and public landscapes.
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