Editorials

A forest’s future

tlong@newsobserver.com

Now that N.C. State University (through its endowment fund and its natural resources foundation) has an agreement over land management for Hofmann Forest, the 79,000 acres near Jacksonville, the university can proceed with a deal with a timber management firm and formulate a long-term plan for using the forest as an academic research center.

Established by the legendary Professor Julius Hofmann more than 80 years ago, the forest has indeed been a contributing research facility for decades. The prospect that the property would be sold spurred an energetic reaction on campus and from environmentalists, to say the least. A “Save Our Hofmann” movement fought the sale.

University officials, including Chancellor Randy Woodson — who was willing to listen to alternatives to selling the forest — are due credit for being willing to change their “blueprint” for the forest’s future. And the university reached agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over land and water management at the forest.

Now, NCSU can proceed with planning how best to use the property for the university’s legendary Forestry School, certainly a jewel in the crown of a university that boasts of some of the most esteemed scientists in this field in the United States.

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