McCrory steps into dispute over NCSU forest sale

Posted September 17, 2014

The 79,000-acre Hofmann Forest in Jones and Onslow counties is the largest university-owned teaching and research forest in the world.

— Gov. Pat McCrory has stepped into a dispute over North Carolina State University's planned sale of the 79,000-acre Hofmann Forest, requesting that the buyers allow Marines from Camp Lejeune to continue using the forest for training.

Trustees of the NC State Natural Resources Foundation Inc. last week agreed to sell 56,000 acres of the forest to Resource Management Service, an Alabama company that specializes in sustainable timber management. The other 23,000 acres will be sold to Hofmann Forest LLC, an Illinois agribusiness company that plans to develop some of the site.

After a Tuesday meeting of the state Military Affairs Commission at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock, McCrory said he has sent letters to the two buyers asking that the military continue to have access to the land for training.

Both buyers have already told the Department of Defense that they would be open to negotiating easements for airspace, blackout rights and other military activities on some of the 70,000 acres northwest of U.S. Highway 17 for training.

The forest was bought in the 1930s for research and to provide income for N.C. State's forestry program. University officials have said they want to sell the land because it hasn't generated enough revenue and isn't used very much anymore for research.

Opponents of the sale say N.C. State has downplayed Hofmann Forest's value, both for research and the environment in eastern North Carolina, and they quickly seized on McCrory's letters to add the forest's military use to their list.

"The military can't safely train in or over strip malls and subdivisions, and even developing part of Hofmann Forest would complicate flight paths and training missions," the group Save Hofmann Forest said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The group called on McCrory, state lawmakers and members of North Carolina's congressional delegation to use their influence over N.C. State to either block the sale or ensure that proper conservation easements are in place before any sale proceeds.

"State government will have very little leverage over these new owners once the land has been sold by N.C. State University," they said.


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  • liskm Sep 20, 2014

    Well said Ospreysilver.
    I fear more pillage from this administration. On land and offshore. Sad.

  • Dreamchaser Sep 19, 2014

    View quoted thread

    OK, I'll bite, who told you to write that post?

  • Thomas Williams Sep 19, 2014
    user avatar

    It is sort of disgusting to sell it, but, why don't the ones who want to save it pony up the money to buy it instead of whining about it, and trying to get enough sympathy to mount a drive to raise funds to buy it? If it is sold, it will disappear and become walmart and apartments, that is pretty certain.

  • ospreysilver Sep 19, 2014

    How is it legal for NC to accept land donated specifically for research purposes and then sell it later for profit? Using this logic the donors to the medicine, dentistry, library, etc could all be later sold to private interests for a profit. And, from a legal standpoint it seems like if its not of value to research the land should go back to the original donors family or they should at least get a cut of the profits given that the land is worth far more now, than they got tax credit for in the 1930's. This land was worth around $80K back then and now worth millions.

  • Christopher Rose Sep 18, 2014
    user avatar

    I mean hey sell in irreplaceable forest and natural resource to fund building a new climbing wall or student food court or set of dorms that will get torn down in 20 years time. And this is an organization full of PhDs?

  • disgusted2010 Sep 18, 2014

    Wonder who told clueless to do this?

  • Terry Watts Sep 18, 2014
    user avatar

    This is what happens when you worship The Profit...

  • teleman60 Sep 18, 2014

    This is disgusting. I worked at NCSU and know the forestry dept head for 30 years. Everyone is devastated that this land is being sold for logging and development.

    Yet more examples of needless pillaging of finite resources. If the owners thought it should be developed or logged THEY WOULD HAVE SOLD IT FOR THAT IN 1934 instead of deeding it to NCSU.