posted this on Crop Talk. I started reading about it and came up with articles like this one. The photographer got a pretty good picture of a bear, even if it's in North Carolina!
"When Barny Bernard joined the Hofmann Forest board in 1999, a fellow forester warned him: "The college has wanted to get control of this forest for a long time. But just like Doc Hofmann said, 'Don't ever let the university get control of it.'"
Bernard is one in a long line of foresters who have managed the 80,000-acre woods or have served on its board of directors, the N.C. Forestry Foundation. The general forester consensus is that N.C. State, which owns Hofmann, should never sell it, and that its primary purpose is research and experimentation.
Yet in mid-April the board of directors, which no longer includes any foresters, voted unanimously in a closed-door meeting to approve the sale of the forest to an as-of-yet undisclosed buyer.
The 9-member board of trustees of N.C. State's endowment fund, which is not scheduled to meet again until September, must approve the sale before it becomes final.
Foresters believe the College of Natural Resources considers the forest a financial asset with the primary role of adding to the bottom line. The foundation's role, as foresters from the Hofmann saw it, was to prevent the college from exploiting the forest.
"This definitely would not have happened under the foundation, when I was part of it," says Bernard, whose term expired in 2009. "We would not have even considered the concept of selling the forest."
Hofmann Forest straddles Onslow and Jones counties on the coast. It represents roughly 80 percent of the College of Natural Resources' assets. The land is valued at $120 million and generates $2 million annually from its pine tree harvesting operation. But the yearly profits would nearly double if the $120 million were invested in a stock portfolio, argues CNR Dean Mary Watzin, who has taken flak from many critics within the college."
I don't blame the college president for seeking the money. Most universities are deep in debt! Selling of such an environmentally important asset in these times? Now that could just turn out to be a big stinker!