Sale of NCSU forest protested

May 6, 2013 

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A small group of protesters, including Joe Roise, left, professor of forestry and environmental resources at N.C. State University, and Ron Sutherland, right, set up "a miniature forest" in front of the NCSU Chancellor's residence to protest the proposed sale of university-owned Hoffman Forest on Monday, May 6, 2013. Five people put 600 plants of baby loblolly pine and displayed a sign behind them early Monday morning.

TAKAAKI IWABU — tiwabu@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

N.C. State’s new Chancellor’s Residence got some elaborate but temporary landscaping Monday when 600 small loblolly pines were displayed at the driveway entrance.

The tiny trees were set up near the front gate to protest the impending sale of Hofmann Forest, an 80,000-acre research site operated by the university’s Natural Resources Foundation.

N.C. State forestry professor Joe Roise, left, and university alumnus Ron Sutherland, right, said they organized the event to raise awareness of the forest and to demonstrate opposition to the sale. Hofmann Forest has been the univeristy’s major site for forestry research and education for more than 70 years.

The foundation that manages the property voted last year to sell the large tract in Onslow and Jones counties and invest the money for a greater financial return. The land is valued at $120 million and yields approximately $2 million to the College of Natural Resources annually through timber sales, according to university officials.

College of Natural Resources Dean Mary Watzin announced in April that a potential buyer has been identified and negotiations for the sale are underway.

About a half-dozen people participated in Monday’s protest, which lasted less than an hour.

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