8:33 am
Mon November 25, 2013

NC State One Step Closer to Selling Forest

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that would have blocked North Carolina State University from selling a massive research forest.

Credit BlueRidgeKitties

Judge Shannon R. Joseph issued that ruling late Friday afternoon.

Hofmann Forest has been owned and managed for the benefit of N.C. State's College of Natural Resources for nearly 80 years. It's home to large populations of black bears and rare Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes.

University officials announced last month they would sell the nearly 80,000-acre tract for $150 million dollars, citing assurances the company owned by Illinois agri-businessman Jerry Walker would preserve the environmentally sensitive land.

Opponents of the deal contended the land was state property, and that under law, the sale was subject to environmental review. On Saturday, plaintiffs said they had not decided whether to appeal the dismissal.

The Hofmann Forest is located in the coastal region of North Carolina. With nearly 80,000 contiguous acres, it comprises the single largest holding of the College of Natural Resources.

The university's Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources describes Hofman Forest as "...situated on what was historically referred to as the White Oak pocosin. Pocosin is an Algonquin  word for 'swamp on a hill,' a phrase which aptly describes the character of this unique wetland forest."

WFDD's Steve Biddle contributed to this article