Craig has no plans to develop the land but rather plant Loblolly Pines in the area, which was recommended to him by the forestry service. There is no exact time frame for when Craig will begin clear-cutting the property.
“I’ve owned it for 50 years, I’ve never cut a tree, I’ve left it pristine, and so this is all new to me,” Craig said.
A local nonprofit organization, Friends of Bolin Creek, has been trying to keep Craig from clear-cutting the portion of his land. The organization has arranged community meetings, a forum and a petition.
Craig said around June he began seeing signs in Carrboro that said ‘Save Bolin Forest’ in response to his plans for clear-cutting. He said he was confused with the movement because his property is not a part of Bolin Forest, and he’s not planning on clear-cutting his entire land.
The Daily Tar Heel reached out to The Friends of Bolin Creek for comment but did not receive a response.
Both Carrboro and Chapel Hill have been active in conversations with Craig in an effort to stop the clear-cutting of his property.
“We don’t see a reason to have to clear-cut. We tried talking to him about selective cutting instead but the topography apparently is too challenging to reap any real financial benefits from cutting,” Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said. “At the end of the day it's Mr. Craig's property, and he's allowed to do with It as he pleases, except for the buffer along the creek that is preserved.”
Chaney said Carrboro has tried to connect parties and nonprofits with Craig to enable another organization to purchase the land, but Craig is not interested in selling.
Ultimately, the town is not in a position to pressure him into a decision like that, Chaney said.
“There might be some people in the community who think Carrboro has been silent on the issue," Chaney said. "We’ve been doing everything that we can to understand what Mr. Craig’s interests are, express what our interests are and see if we can come up with some kind of win-win situation."
Hemminger said the community is generally upset about any sort of clear-cutting in the area, but Craig has been very generous by allowing people to walk and bike on his property.
“It's a valued resource and people have been writing Mr. Craig thank you notes and trying to let him know how much the community cherishes that he's been willing to preserve this property and let them use it and keep it in this good shape,” Hemminger said.