N.C. State University has held Hofmann Forest in trust for the benefit of its students and residents throughout the state for decades. In transferring ownership from public to private, the citizens of North Carolina and the future NCSU-CNS students will be deprived of the many public benefits provided by the forest. Watershed protection, soil and forest conservation, wildlife habitat improvement, production of timber and other commodities will be compromised. They will be lost completely to the people of North Carolina if this property transfers to private ownership.
Save Hofmann Forest advocates are proud to announce that our next protest will be held Saturday Sept 20, from 11am-noon, at Deppe Park (northeast of Jacksonville, NC on Highway 17). The public is welcome to attend, and we will have at least 200 new Save Hofmann yard signs to distribute at the event, so even if people just want to stop by and pick up a sign they are more than welcome to do so. Jessica Hult is the lead contact for the event, 252-342-0591, email@example.com. The goal of the protest is to continue to draw attention to the fact that a 79,000-acre tract of public forest is being sold to private buyers, without protections and without complying with state law, and against the wishes of 11,000+ people who have signed petitions opposing the sale plan.
Hofmann Forest has been used for decades to provide multiple public benefits, including clean water, wildlife habitat, and forestry research and experimentation. NCSU has held this land in trust for the benefit of it’s students and residents throughout the state. In transferring ownership from public to private, the citizens of North Carolina and the future NCSU-CNS students will be deprived of the many public benefits provided by the forest. Watershed protection, soil and forest conservation, wildlife habitat improvement, production of timber and other commodities will be compromised. They will be lost completely to the people of North Carolina if this property transfers to private ownership.
Hofmann Forest provides critical filtration of run-off from areas west of the forest helping to make the Castle Hayne Aquifer one of the prime aquifers on the east coast. Is the potential loss of our drinking water worth it? Speaking of water–what about our beaches? What about the Crystal Coast? Do we want our beaches to experience even more closures due to high bacteria numbers? What about those tourists? We depend on their dollars coming to our Crystal Coast beaches. More beach closures means less tourists spending their hard earned money. It also means people will move out.
This potential sale of Hofmann Forest, even split into two sales- one to RMS Timber and the other 29,000 acres going to Walker Ag Group and their elusive investors using the moniker “Hofmann Forest, LLC” does nothing to prevent the future development of this sensitive wetland & pocosin. The buyers are going to want to make money on their investment, and that will undoubtedly include some sort of development. If the buyer can sell easements to Camp LeJeune, why cannot NCSU-CNS do the same in order to increase income from the property? This sale is one of the most all-encompassing short-sighted deals I’ve ever witnessed. One new stadium or theatre & poof- the money from the sale of Hofmann will be gone.
One last item- Robert Brown (NCSU Dean 2006) has definitively stated there are NO endangered indigenous plants in Hofmann. Is this because the pine plantation part has been so poorly mismanaged that it currently is unsuitable for those species that are now thriving in the Croatan National Forest, Holly Shelter, and also Camp LeJeune? NCSU used to be a model of Forestry management; Hofmann Forest is the largest University-owned working forest in the world and it used to be renowned- both the forest and the school were renowned. NCSU should be ashamed. Not only have they mismanaged this forest as well as the income it used to bring, they will lost their standing as one of the best forestry schools in the world IF they continue to push this sale of Hofmann Forest through.
Article 14, Section 5 of the North Carolina Constitution is clearly being violated. And where exactly are those REQUIRED state or federal environmental impact studies on the property comprising Hofmann Forest? There are so many blatant atrocities involved in this scandalous sale. It would certainly behoove NCSU to reconsider selling Hofmann Forest.
IWLA White Oak River Chapter President
NC-WRC Hunter’s Ed Instructor