The sale of Hofmann Forest, an ecologically important landmass of nearly 80,000 acres at the headwaters of three important water bodies in North Carolina (White Oak River, Trent River and New River) brings up the question, will the buyer (Illinois-based farmer Jerry Walker) change his mind and develop a new rural hamlet of farms defacing the wilderness?
The deed calls for careful stipulations for using the vast land only for what NCSU prudently desires with a current understanding that buyers will focus on some minimal agricultural use and a committed development of much of the property for militant purpose or aviation training to be more accurate. There is justification for the sale, primarily to fetch the needed money ($150 million) at a time state money for higher education is dwindling.
Let the sellers reaffirm the deed not to let enormous housing projects to emerge in a few years and make the headwaters of the three rivers become victims as receptacles of stormwater and overflow from septic tanks leakages that eventually lead to eutrophication and follow-up fish kills. It is wise to have in our minds “ecosystem health” in North Carolina.
Robert Y. George
President, George Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability