(a) The Governor may, upon recommendation of the Department, accept gifts of land to the State to be held, protected, and administered by the Department as State forests, and to be used so as to demonstrate the practical utility of timber culture and water conservation, and as refuges for game. The gifts of land must be absolute except in cases where the mineral interest on the land has previously been sold. The Department may purchase lands in the name of the State, suitable chiefly for the production of timber, as State forests, for experimental, demonstration, educational, and protection purposes, using for these purposes any special appropriations or funds available. The Department may acquire by condemnation under the provisions of Chapter 40A of the General Statutes areas of land in different sections of the State that may in the opinion of the Department be necessary for the purpose of establishing or developing State forests and other areas and developments essential to the effective operation of the State forestry activities under its charge. Condemnation proceedings shall be instituted and prosecuted in the name of the State, and any property so acquired shall be administered, developed, and used for experiment and demonstration in forest management, for public recreation, and for other purposes authorized or required by law. Before any action or proceeding under this section can be exercised, the approval of the Governor and Council of State shall be obtained and filed with the clerk of the superior court in the county or counties where the property is located. The Attorney General shall ensure that all deeds to the State for land acquired under this section are properly executed before the gift is accepted or payment of the purchase money is made.
(b) The Department may accept as gifts to the State any forest and submarginal farmland acquired by the federal government that is suitable for the purpose of creating and maintaining State forests or enter into longtime leases with the federal government for the areas and administer them with funds secured from their administration in the best interest of longtime public use, supplemented by any appropriations made by the General Assembly. The Department may segregate revenue derived from State hunting and fishing licenses, use permits, and concessions, and other proper revenue secured through the administration of State forests, to be deposited in the State treasury to the credit of the Department to be used for the administration of these areas.
(c) The authority granted to the Department under this section is in addition to any authority granted to the Department under any other provision of law. (2011-145, s. 13.25(o).)
Last modified: March 23, 2014