We need to keep our research stations

What if there was a bill in the N.C. Senate, introduced the day before the Senate voted, that would offer for sale to the highest bidder Mt. Mitchell State Park, the new Chimney Rock State Park, Pilot Mountain State Park or any of the other state parks in North Carolina? Would there not be a great backlash of citizens calling their legislators in defiance?

Well, that is what essentially is happening with this session of the General Assembly. Instead of state parks, the option to sell is being offered for our state farms. H.B. 1473 would transfer 12 of the Agricultural Research Stations from the N.C. Department of Agriculture to N.C. State University. The House has made it plain that they oppose this transfer, but the Senate is sticking to their vote. If the citizens of North Carolina do not call their legislators en masse, the option to sell some of the stations across the state will become a reality.

What if we need research to feed ourselves 20, 30, even 50 years from now? What if we need open space like the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville? Or what if there is a need for a state park in its place? Does anyone believe we could buy these back at some point in the future? Very few folks in the know think this idea is a good one.

I would like to ask your readers to please investigate this for what it is: a money grab. I would also like to ask that they help the N.C. House members defeat this bill and allow for dialogue this coming year from everyone at the table. Please call or e-mail your local state legislator, as well as your friends around the state. Folks will have to work quickly. This year’s Legislature will sign the budget very soon, and this will become a reality.

— Bill Yarborough

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One thought on “We need to keep our research stations

  1. Elizabeth Wait

    Help me understand the comparison between selling Chimney Rock to the highest bidder, and transferring the research stations from one state agency to another. The first implies private development. Are you saying you feel the stations are more likely to be sold to private interests, after transfer to NCSU? NCSU already has a presence at the stations, does it not? Asked another way, when you say money grab, do you believe it’s being transferred for the specific purpose of being able to sell some of them? I have heard that the Mtn Research Station in Waynesville is an incredible place, a gem of the mountains. It should absolutely be protected, especially if the taxpayers already own it.

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