Judge dismisses lawsuit over Hofmann Forest sale

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

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.

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