Commissioner Troxler: Osprey Landings at Bladen Lakes State Forest

The N.C. Forest Service has reached a lease agreement with the Naval Facilities Command the U.S. Marine Corps that allows MV-22 Osprey aircraft to land on two 23-acre landing zones at Bladen Lake State Forest. The working forest is self-supporting and the lease benefits both the forest operations and the military by allowing important training exercises.

  • People who live around the Bladen Lakes State Forest may have noticed some different kind of traffic recently, specifically the presence of MV-22 Osprey aircraft that have begun training exercises in the area.
  • The N.C. Forest Service, which manages the forest, entered into a lease agreement with the Naval Facilities Command and the U.S. Marine Corps to allow for training exercises on two 23-acre landing zones there.
  • I have talked a lot in the past about our cooperation with the military on mutually beneficial projects, and this certainly exemplifies that.
  • We are fortunate to have both a strong military presence and a strong agriculture economy in our state.
  • In fact, the military is the second in size to agriculture in economic contributions. I have made no apologies about wanting to preserve farmland for future agricultural uses, and the military is interested in conducting training over some of this open farm and timberland.
  • This particular project was three years in the making. The lease was signed in November 2017 and training actually began in January. We have already seen some of these tilt-rotor aircraft practicing in the area.
  • This site allows for landings and take-offs and low-altitude pattern work away from the congested airspace over Camp Lejeune and the Marine Corps Air Station New River.
  • Bladen Lakes State Forest receives no appropriated funding, and instead generates revenue from the sale of timber, pine straw and charcoal. The lease agreement helps keep this working forest working.
  • I believe this is a win-win situation for all involved. It allows for military readiness and it helps protect farm and timberlands.
  • We are always looking for opportunities to partner with our military with regards to farmland conservation. In fact, our state is one of two nationally that are participating in the Forest Opportunities for Resources Conservation and Environmental Security. This voluntary program assists woodland owners near military bases who keep their working forests working.