Forests and Facilities

Our teaching, research and technical services require top-quality spaces for students and faculty to find solutions to today’s most pressing environmental issues. Our natural environments, living labs, built space and applied research resources are essential to NC State’s Think and Do environment.

Stacy Nelson

Recreational Forests

G.W. Hill Forest

  • Location: 2,690 acres in Durham County, about one hour from NC State’s main campus.
  • About: This forest began in 1929 as a vision of Dr. Julius Hofmann and a gift of 378 acres from local philanthropist George Watts Hill. The Flat River (Neuse river basin) bisects the forest; planted forest types include a variety of pine species and an endangered sumac species relocation effort. The forest is certified under the American Tree Farm System and recognized by SFI.
  • Public Access: By permit. Still-hunting, fox-hunting, horseback riding, biking, hiking and fishing activities are allowed with a license or permit. A significant road and trail system allows access. There is monitoring instrumentation onsite including rain gages, flow meters, RAWS weather station, and groundwater wells.
  • Research: Hill Forest is managed as a teaching laboratory and demonstration forest where students learn to identify vegetation, perform water quality and soil tests, tend forestland, survey, measure, and undertake a myriad of other scientific explorations. Research investigations conducted in Hill Forest have resulted in more than 15 Ph.D. dissertations, 31 master’s theses, and 23 refereed articles in scientific journals and books. Home of the college’s Camp Slocum, which houses Forest Management students and Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology students for 6-9 weeks each summer, the forest and curriculum provides intense, practical experience and invaluable field knowledge. The Slocum Camp consists of onsite classrooms, a workshop, storage, bathrooms and food preparation facilities in addition to  three year-round cabins and 18 seasonal cabins. Three historic buildings, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps,  are maintained at the camp.
  • Permits: To streamline our permit process we are working with Outdoor Access to offer all of our permits online.
Apply for a Permit

Carl Alwin Schenck Forest

  • Location: 286 acres located in highly developed western Wake County, about 10 minutes from NC State’s main campus.
  • About: Named for the father of American forestry, Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck, this forest continues to be managed by the college as a teaching and research forest to demonstrate the multiple benefits generated by an actively-managed, multi-use forest. Schenck Forest plays a vital role as an outdoor laboratory for a number of academic programs including forestry, botany, mycology, ecology, soils, recreation and wildlife biology. A 50-acre tract of mature hardwood preservation in the forest is found to the west of Richlands Creek and is still assigned to the NCDOT. The forest is certified under the American Tree Farm System and recognized by SFI.
  • Research: Schenck Forest hosts multiple classes and active research projects, including tree growth, genetics, hydrology, soils, and wildlife and habitat monitoring. A teaching arboretum includes native and some non-native species that compliments the NC Museum’s Prairie Ridge native species arboretum nearby.
  • Public Access: Yes. Schenck Forest is open to the public during daylight hours and patrolled by NC State University Campus Police and their equine unit. University Wellness and Recreation manages a High Ropes and Low Challenge Course on the property, and University ROTC groups conducting classes and training activities in the forest as well. The public are welcome to visit for hiking, running, orienteering, bird watching, and exploring the Braham Arboretum. The Frances L. Liles Trail is most frequently used by the public and passes through a number of sites where a variety of management practices are employed, including those to support different wildlife habitats and encourage specific plants and animals. No dogs, bikes, horses or hunting are permitted on the property.

Research Forests

Chowan Swamp

  • Location: 3,815 acres located on the last major bend in the Chowan River in northeastern North Carolina just west of the Great Dismal Swamp in Gates County. The Chowan River supports a rich network of creeks, swamps and ecosystems. Approximately three hours from NC State’s main campus.
  • About: Between 1973 and 1994, the Nature Conservancy worked with Union Camp Corporation and Georgia-Pacific Corporation to protect almost 11,000 acres, now owned by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the N.C. State Natural Resources Foundation, Inc, the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation and NC State. Our tract is split by Bennetts Creek, downstream from Merchant’s Millpond State Park and just upstream from Holiday Island in the Chowan River. Abundant wetland wildlife is present including alligators. Atlantic white-cedar grows on the tract, but has been continually felled by periodic hurricanes, so large timber is spotty. Large cypress trees also grow along the considerable shoreline.
  • Research: There is no active research at this time.
  • Public Access: None The forest is privately owned and is not open to the public. Chowan Swamp is fairly inaccessible with no roads or facilities. Road access through adjacent rural agricultural fields leads to the edge of the swamp.  The best access is by boat or slowly on foot.

Hofmann Forest

  • Location: A working industrial-scale tract of 79,000 contiguous acres located in the coastal region of North Carolina, adjacent to the city of Jacksonville and spanning Jones and Onslow counties. It is approximately 2.5 hours from NC State’s main campus.
  • Forests and Facilities Natural Resources
    The NC State Natural Resources Foundation, Inc operates 85,000 acres of land contained in the Hosley, Goodwin, Gates, Taylor, Timaca, Lee and Hofmann forests. The College of Natural Resources controls another 9,000 acres in the Hill, Schenck, and Bull Neck Swamp tracts.

    About:This large contiguous tract centered on White Oak pocosin, contains headwaters of the White Oak River. With a mix of managed pine plantations, natural pine and hardwood stands, as well as agricultural fields, the Hofmann provides unique opportunities for research, demonstration and sustainable forest management. Numerous income sources on the property provide vital financial support to the College of Natural Resources. In 2016, a timber deed on 54,000 acres was sold to Resource Management Service, LLC (RMS). Returns from the timber deed investments help ensure consistent annual income to the college. An agriculture crop lease and wetland mitigation credit sales add to the annual income. RMS and the college’s Forest Assets Team jointly manage the property. Portions of the property managed by RMS are SFI certified. The surrounding land use is largely agricultural, especially in Jones County.Developed land uses are encroaching, especially on the southwest side as the city of Jacksonville grows.

  • Research: Since 1934, Hofmann Forest has been used for research including genetic trials, seedling nutrition studies, water quality monitoring, and black bear and white-tail deer surveys. Research instrumentation on-site includes rain gauges, groundwater wells, NADP site and RAWs weather stations.
  • Public Access: None. The forest is privately owned and is not open to the public. On an annual basis, the Hofmann hosts many groups, both forestry professionals and non-forestry groups, to demonstrate the techniques and benefits of managed forests. Use of the property for NC State research, demonstration projects and educational visits can be accommodated by contacting Sam Cook, Executive Director of Forest Assets. The property includes an extensive network of roads, some capacity for overnight accommodations, and several commercial buildings.

Hosley Forest

  • Location: 254 acres in Franklin County, about 1.5 hours from NC State’s main campus. Donated in 1994 by Wilfred Hosley of Wake Forest, N.C., the forest includes examples of both intensively-managed pine plantations and natural bottomland hardwood stands.
  • About: The Hosley Forest began as worn out farmland on the bluffs above Shocco Creek (a tributary of the Tar River). Ten years prior to gifting the property to the college, Mr. Wilfred Hosley planted the abandoned farmland to pine. Shocco Creek is home to endangered mussels, like the Tar Spiny Mussel and the Dwarf Wedge Mussel, and most neighboring tracts have conservation easements in place to protect water quality. The land base is spotted with vernal pools and now consists of two primary vegetation types: planted loblolly pine stands (60%) and mixed bottomland to upland hardwoods (40%).
  • Research: There is no active research at this time, but much potential exists, including but not limited to examining the eradication of invasive species by silvicultural operations, impacts of silvicultural operations on endangered mussels downstream, effects of and levels of stewardship associated with commercial ATV access, and the practice of sound hardwood forest management in the southeastern U.S.
  • Public Access?  None. This forest is privately owned and is not open to the public. The tract is leased for hunting and has no facilities available on site.

James Goodwin Forest

  • Location: 1,410 acres near Carthage in Moore County, about one hour from NC State’s main campus. The Goodwin Forest was exhausted farmland restored by its prior owner, James L. Goodwin, who was a trained forester from Yale University. Mr. Goodwin planted open lands with pine seedlings and succeeded in reforesting the area.
  • About: Set on the northern edge of the Sandhills, this tract is dominated by 1,067 acres of plantation pine managed for an economic return that funds multiple undergraduate scholarships in the college annually. Nearly 100 acres are planted in longleaf pine, and although there are no red-cockaded woodpeckers on the property, there are known clusters nearby. The forest is bordered on the east by Killets Creek and surrounding land use is predominantly forestry with scattered small pockets of agriculture and residential property. The forest is certified under the American Tree Farm System and recognized by SFI.
  • Research: There is no active research at this time. The forest does provide educational opportunities for sound southern pine management (including thinning, herbicide and prescribed burning), longleaf restoration in borderline sandhills, and spacing trials.
  • Public Access? None. The forest is privately owned and is not open to the public. The forest is leased for hunting, and a good road system allows year-round access, but there are no facilities.

Taylor/Holt Forest

  • Location:  118-acre forest consisting of two tracts about a mile apart located in Nash County, about two hours from NC State’s main campus.
  • About: This forest was a gift from Mrs. Oma Taylor in 2007. Mrs. Taylor requested the forest remain as an income-producing agriculture and tree farms, as long as economically feasible, to provide educational support for students in the College of Natural Resources. The majority of the acreage is planted loblolly pine, but the tracts also include 6 acres leased for organic farming, five acres natural sweetgum regeneration that has been thinned, and a half acre upland oaks retained for wildlife.
  • Research: The southern tract contains an active tip-moth control study.
  • Public Access? None. The forest is privately owned and is not open to the public. There is one road and no facilities onsite. The tract is leased for agriculture and does permit seasonal hunting by reservation.

Julius B. Lee Experimental Forest

  • Location: 130 acres in Johnston County, within 0.5 mile of the US 70 Clayton bypass, about 30 minutes from NC State’s main campus
  • About: The Julius B. Lee Forest was a cutover tract upon acquisition in 2007. The forest encircles two abandoned hog lagoons immediately to the south.  A tributary of Little Creek crosses at the base of the bluff occupied by the lagoons. A former 10-acre pasture was immediately planted with loblolly pine, and the rest of the acreage has grown back naturally to mixed pine-hardwoods.
  • Research: The forest is extensively used for undergraduate and graduate work in projects monitoring the surface and subsurface movement of lagoon constituents into Lee Forest surface waters. Environmental Forensics, a course in Environmental Technology and Management, commonly visits the tract.
  • Public Access? None. The forest is privately owned and is not open to the public. One road is maintained annually for access. An old logging road is present, but not used. There are no facilities onsite.

Timaca Forest

  • Location: 100 acres in Person County, NC, located four miles northeast of Hill Forest, about one hour from NC State’s main campus.
  • About: Timaca uplands were harvested upon requisition and replanted with loblolly pine, but mature hardwood streamside management zones were left intact. The tract is located in the Tar River headwaters, and an old home site was severely infested with Chinese wisteria. The surrounding land use is primarily forestry and agriculture.
  • Research: There is no active research at this time.
  • Public Access: None. The forest is privately owned and is not open to the public. The tract is leased for hunting, and there are no roads or facilities onsite.

Bull Neck Swamp Research Forest

  • Location: 6,118 contiguous acres in Washington County on the Albemarle Sound, about 2.5 hours from NC State’s main campus.
  • About: As a result of the salinity wedge that moves up and down Albemarle Sound, Bull Neck Swamp is the only College of Natural Resources’ forest that may experience saline water. Sea level rise is evident on the tract. However, the freshwater marsh along Deep Creek in the southern portion of the tract is florally unique. This coastal wetland is managed by the Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences Program in the Department of Forestry and college’s Forest Assets Team. The tract includes over 2,300 acres of preserves and 7 miles of undisturbed shoreline.
  • Research: Funding for research, management and scholarships is generated through annual black bear and deer hunting licenses as well as periodic timber sales. Considerable wildlife research has been conducted on the site in the last decade. Management on the property includes extensive herpetofauna and mammal surveys, bobcat (Lynx rufus) habitat use and movement research, prescribed burning, and Atlantic white cedar regeneration. Bald Eagles were seen on-site, and beaver control is necessary to retain the road system and maintain good relations with adjacent agricultural land owners.
  • Public Access? None. Bull Neck Swamp is leased for hunting. This heavily forested tract includes no facilities and 18 miles of unpaved roads that are flooded for several months of the year.

Carl Alwin Schenck Forest

  • Location: 286 acres located in highly developed western Wake County, about 10 minutes from NC State’s main campus.
  • About: Named for the father of American forestry, Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck, this forest continues to be managed by the college as a teaching and research forest to demonstrate the multiple benefits generated by an actively-managed, multi-use forest. Schenck Forest plays a vital role as an outdoor laboratory for a number of academic programs including forestry, botany, mycology, ecology, soils, recreation and wildlife biology. A 50-acre tract of mature hardwood preservation in the forest is found to the west of Richlands Creek and is still assigned to the NCDOT. The forest is certified under the American Tree Farm System and recognized by SFI.
  • Research: Schenck Forest hosts multiple classes and active research projects, including tree growth, genetics, hydrology, soils, and wildlife and habitat monitoring. A teaching arboretum includes native and some non-native species that compliments the NC Museum’s Prairie Ridge native species arboretum nearby.
  • Public Access: Yes. Schenck Forest is open to the public during daylight hours and patrolled by NC State University Campus Police and their equine unit. University Wellness and Recreation manages a High Ropes and Low Challenge Course on the property, and University ROTC groups conducting classes and training activities in the forest as well. The public are welcome to visit for hiking, running, orienteering, bird watching, and exploring the Braham Arboretum. The Frances L. Liles Trail is most frequently used by the public and passes through a number of sites where a variety of management practices are employed, including those to support different wildlife habitats and encourage specific plants and animals. No dogs, bikes, horses or hunting are permitted on the property.

 

Living Labs

Lonnie Poole Golf Course and Clubhouse (LPGC)

  • Location: 1509 Main Campus Drive (Centennial Campus)
  • About: The LPGC was designed by Arnold Palmer and the design team at Arnold Palmer Design Company, including NC State graduates Erik Larsen and Brandon Johnson, the layout includes breathtaking views of the Raleigh skyline and the award-winning Centennial Campus. The 18-hole public golf course is home to both the men’s and women’s varsity golf teams. In 2013, LPGC passed strict sustainability standards and became a certified Audubon International Signature golf Sanctuary and member of the organization’s Signature Program. With this certification, the LPGC represents the evolution of golf course architecture toward sustainability. Raleigh’s large elevation changes dictate the course routing, which meanders around large buffer areas, left in place to protect natural streams and wetlands.
  • Public Access: Open to the public for tee times, private instruction, group clinics, dining and events.
  • Research:This teaching and research facility serves the PGA Golf Management Program and includes a swing analysis laboratory equipped with the latest club fitting and instructional technology. The course also facilitates turfgrass and stormwater research associated with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), as well as crop science, horticulture, entomology, fisheries and wildlife, and plant pathology research programs. Within the golf course, programs involving wildlife conservation, habitat enhancement and environmental issues are balanced with the economics, operations and practicalities of running a golf course.

Applied Research Resources

Hodges Wood Products Lab

  • Location: 411 Dan Allen Drive, NC State main campus
  • About: The Hodges Wood Products Lab is a 21,000 square foot facility with a wide range of production woodworking equipment, testing machines and instrumentation for investigating the physical and mechanical properties of wood, including dry kilns; a CNC moulder and router; finishing room; hot presses for making plywood, particleboard and fiberboard; four universal and several other testing machines; conditioning chambers and a wide range of production woodworking equipment.
  • Public Access: none
  • Research: Contact Hodges Tech Services at (919) 515-2850 or wp_techservices@ncsu.edu for industry testing services

Robertson Pulp and Paper Laboratory Complex

  • Location: Robertson Hall (2820 Faucette Drive, NC State main campus)
  • About: The Complex includes 82,863 square feet of research facilities and equipment, plus a new, 3-story lab addition containing 27,500 additional square feet of laboratory space. The Complex mirrors state of the art industry facilities and allows students to innovate and test new materials while gaining experience under actual industry conditions.
  • Public Access: none
  • Research: The equipment located in the Complex supports research into chemical pulping; mechanical pulping; bleaching; fiber recycling; papermaking; paper testing for strength, stress resistance, durability and other factors; pulp processing; pulp and paper testing; and a variety of analytical services.

Contact the College of Natural Resources Research Office at 919.515.2890 or cnr_research@ncsu.edu with questions about any of our sites and facilities.

Built Space

Our built space includes classrooms, collaborative spaces, computer labs, greenhouses and a Natural Resources Library, located on the first floor of Jordan Hall.