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Interview with Joe C. Hogue Jr., November 13, 2002 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Joe C. Hogue Jr., November 13, 2002
November 13, 2002
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Hogue, Joe C., Jr. Interviewer:  Warren, Harry Date of Interview:  11/13/2002 Series:  Southeast North Carolina (SENC) Length  63 minutes


Hogue: How much of me is in there?

Warren: Now? Already? Well I just turned on…

Hogue: I mean body wise.

Warren: Oh, um, you can come and see if you’d like, from about here up. The best looking part.

INTRODUCTION: You can see, we’re getting ready to have a fine interview with Mr. Joe Hogue. I’m pronouncing that correctly Joe? I’m Harry Warren, your camera person and interviewer today on November 13. We’re here in Joe’s office in the Archdale Building in Raleigh, North Carolina on the 10th floor. Joe, would you give us your name and spell your name for the person who will ultimately transcribe this, and tell me where do you hail from and what’s your educational background

Hogue: My name is Joe Hogue, H-o-g-u-e. I’m originally from Houston, Texas, went to school and got a Bachelor of Science degree in landscape architecture in 1971 from Texas A&M University. My senior year, I was hired by the North Carolina Forest Service to come here and work with the forest service on developing at that time what they called mini-forests. They wanted a forest, an educational type forest system, we call them educational forests now. So here I am. I’ve been here 32 years now with the North Carolina Forest Service.

Warren: Joe, let’s jump right on into the state educational forest. Now you graduated in 1971 you said from Texas A&M. How did North Carolina come about…you’re not a forester. We were just talking about that, I’m not a forester, you’re not a forester. How did you get involved all the way over there in Texas? How they’d find you and why were they even looking for you?

Hogue: That’s a good question. Ralph Winkworth who was the state forester at the time, he was a forester, a graduate of Syracuse University, a friend of his who went to school with him was the dean of the School of Landscape Architecture in Syracuse. He had a lot of respect for the man. Ralph was involved, Ralph Winkworth was involved on the national scene with the National Association of State Foresters, well respected nationwide.

He could see the need for an educated public so the public would understand the need to properly manage forests, to care for forests, properly use forests. He was really way ahead of his time in the late 60’s, early 70’s, to be thinking like that. So he had talked to his friend and the friend told him he needed a landscape architect to develop your forest concept.

He would put it in a place where people could come to the forest, enjoy the forest and then as they’re in the forest, they’re not even aware that it’s a managed forest and that parts of it have been harvested. They begin to realize this is not a virgin forest at all. This is a forest that’s been managed, a forest that’s been harvested. Instead of going in with a negative idea to start with, they’re enjoying the forest and then realize through exhibits and different things on the forest, this is a managed forest yet it’s beautiful and wildlife is abundant and recreational opportunities are abundant. Ralph brought that about.

So anyway my boss that actually hired me was the assistant state forester, Graham Chamblee.

Warren: How do you spell that last name?

Hogue: C-h-a-m-b-l-e-e. They put out an ad in the Landscape Architectural Quarterly magazine and I was getting that magazine. I was still in college in my senior year. I was in the process of sending resumes all over the country. I sent a bunch of Hawaii, all over the place.

Warren: Something graduate students are still doing.

Hogue: Because I had a lot of interest in tropical type plants. At any rate, I was looking through the magazine. My wife was sending all this stuff out for me. I happened to see this ad and I read it to her. It said, “Progressive southern southeast forest service looking for a landscape architect to develop a forest system”. So I just mentioned it to my wife and said this is interesting, but I threw it aside and forgot about it.

A few months later I get a letter from the North Carolina Forest Service. I didn't even know what state it was in. I couldn’t figure out, well why are they contacting me and what is this all about. Then she remembered sending that thing off, that resume off to these folks. She went back and looked at it later and found what I had read to her.

Warren: So your wife actually sent the resume without your knowledge.

Hogue: Without my knowledge. So they picked five people they wanted to interview. He just made a route flying around and looked at five people in different states and I was one of those folks. I met him there in College Station, Texas. I liked him, he liked me and we thought we’d get along together I guess. So I was offered the job. I didn't have a whole lot to show him.

I put together some stuff, but I wasn’t really all that interested to tell you the truth. I could have worked in Texas, but I thought well I’d go through the interview process just to see. But I liked him and I liked the idea of coming into something that was brand new. They hadn’t even done a feasibility study. Ralph just had the idea that we needed a forest that people could come to and learn more about the forest environment and how to manage it and care for it. So it was brand new and a new concept, they didn’t know whether they wanted them or anything. That kind of a challenge is what really brought me here and the fact that I enjoyed Graham, I liked him a lot.

Warren: That’s a very interesting story, the fact that the wife you didn't even know the wife had sent it in, it almost makes one a little Presbyterian. It’s like you were meant to be here, meant to be here. Now you showed me a photograph just a second ago. If we could take a look at this. Who is this gentleman who I’m holding in my hand?

Hogue: That’s Ralph Winkworth. He was the state forester at the time that I was hired. He was the one that had the idea and the dream of bringing people into a forest environment to teach them about forestry.

Warren: Is he still alive?

Hogue: No, he’s been dead for quite a while. He didn't fully understand or know exactly what he wanted. In his mind he kind of did. We’d just talk about it and then I’d go and work up something. We’d determine where we’d put them. He seemed to like the concepts and the designs and what have you and the ideas that we’d come up with. He really had very little comment about it. He pretty well liked it, but he was able to articulate what he wanted enough that we could figure out the direction to go.

We would come up with designs and master plans for the forest. Like I said, he didn't so much know exactly what he wanted, but he would know it when he saw it. It worked out very well. For the most part, he liked everything that we did and that’s how we proceeded.

Warren: But he was the state forester in the same position that Mr. Stan Adams is in today.

Hogue: That’s correct.

Warren: How do you spell his last name, Ralph’s last name?

Hogue: W-i-n-k-w-o-r-t-h.

Warren: Pardon me, you were getting ready to say…

Hogue: He was really quite ahead of his time in terms of this kind of approach. Now they are states all over the nation are looking at doing something similar to this, and that was something he was thinking about in the late 60’s.

Warren: To your knowledge, there were no other states doing this at the time?

Hogue: There were no other states. In fact, when Stan Adams, our present state forester, came on board six or seven years ago, or maybe a little longer, he was amazed. He had heard about our educational forest. He’d come from the U.S. Forest Service out of Atlanta, the regional office. He had heard about the educational forests, but he didn't know what they were. When he saw one, he said, “My gosh, this is one of the best kept secrets around.”

When he first came we were talking about educating the public. I remember he was at one of our offices and said we didn't really educate, we just informed. We were just an informational service. Until he actually went to the forest, walked around and saw it and saw the programs we were giving and the things that were happening, the exhibits and things like that, that’s when he said we had to let people know about this thing.

You know you’re working in the North Carolina forestry, you work in North Carolina, you’re just trying to do the best job you can and you don’t know if it’s what the rest of the world is doing out there to be honest with you or whether what you’re doing is crazy as the dickens (laughter). So you’re just out there doing the best you can.

But when he came along, it wasn’t a month or two and he brought in people from all over the United States, U.S. Forest folks that were placed all over the United States and other state foresters from other states came in.

Warren: Stan brought these in through his connections?

Hogue: Stan, yes, and he may have done some other things. But I’m not sure it wasn’t just strictly to see the forests. So we went out to the forest and looked at it. Then that’s the first time I began to realize that what we had was unique in the nation evidently from whatever everybody was saying. Everybody was saying no, this isn’t in the west, this isn’t in the northwest, it’s nowhere, the concept. And it’s not as if we developed or designed something that was totally different. It’s more like how we packaged it.

We would take ideas. We would get an idea here, an idea there and oftentimes improve on it a little bit, exhibit idea, this kind of idea, that kind of idea. The way we packaged the whole thing was different than what anyone else was doing. So that’s what made it unique I guess.

Warren: Well you had state parks. They’ve been around for a long, long time. This is basically a variation on a state park I mean with a real heavy emphasis on education. They still, and I’ve been to most of the state educational forests, they still have a state park kind of feel to them. You know there’s a place usually some nature trails to walk in and things of that nature. Rendezvous Mountain I think even has some picnic areas.

Hogue: If you talk to someone about it, we’ve never looked good on paper. If you talk to people about it all you can do is relate whatever you’ve been to, park, county park, state parks, city parks, whatever. That’s what comes to mind. But we’ve always found if we could get people to go to the forest, that we could sell them on it because that’s when you begin to see the educational program that’s going on and the other things that we have that are unique.

You’re right, we had to have a reason for people to come, something for them to do while they were here. So we have 25 picnic sites. That’s not much. We have a shelter and restroom facilities, things like that. Then with the rest of our stuff, we wanted to get them out in the woods, so we developed a talking tree trail, about a quarter mile trail in each forest. We went with talking trees which is a little different than most other folks. It’s a fun thing for the kids and they get a big kick out of it and adults do for that matter as well.

Then we have a longer trail that’s about a mile and a half, two mile trail where we can actually show demonstrations along the trail, like maybe an area that’s been burned versus an area that hasn’t been burned, an area that’s been harvested. We talk about the difference in the wildlife, the change in wildlife in an area that’s been harvested and the edge effect of the wildlife that congregates on the edge of a clear cut, using forests for cover and clear cut for wood. Lots of things can be talked about.

We talk about the harvesting techniques, all kinds of things on the longer trails. Then we have exhibits that are actually a number of exhibits in the picnic area itself that would show different aspects of forest management. We call them three side exhibits. They’re just little kiosk type things. Another feature we use in all the forests are tree ID signs which are wooden plaques that hang on the tree with a question mark in the shape of the leaf of that tree. People will pick it up, flip it up and you can look on the back side and it would tell you the name of the tree and what it’s used for, hickory – baseball bats, whatever, handles, things liked that. But we’re always talking about the use of forests, the use of the trees as well.

Warren: Something as basic as tree identification is really more complex than one might think. It’s tough to identify some trees.

Hogue: Very tough. And it’s tough to get people interested in the trees. You probably, I guess everybody has seen, you go through and trees were just labeled maybe, over at the capital they’re labeled, you here see anyone look at them, just the labels up there as you go walking down the walk. We came up with the idea of hiding them so we were going to make it a participatory thing, so they have to participate in. We put this red question mark, you know that’s hard to pass up in the shape of a leaf and it’s hanging on the tree. And I’ve gone out and watched it. It’s funny the difference it makes, just a question mark and the fact that you cannot see the name unless you lift the plaque up.

You see whole families that run down the trail and the kids are running down the trail ahead of the mommy and daddy. They stop and hold the plaque where the daddy can’t see it cause he’s a great woodsman. He knows all the trees you know, according to his tales. So they come up there and everybody’s looking at the daddy trying to identify the tree and the kids are holding the plaque where he can’t lift it and all of a sudden he’ll say something, oh it’s a black walnut and they’ll flip it up and it was a red maple (laughter). All of them will laugh and roar and carry on and run and look for the next tree.

That’s the key of interpretation, having people participate and get involved in the exhibits themselves.

Warren: Do you mind if people borrow your ideas?

Hogue: No, I borrowed from someone else I’m sure. Michael Bamberger who was a landscape architect from Syracuse that worked with us for a while, he came up with that idea and he probably got it from somewhere or he might have just come up with it, but it was a good one.

Warren: Museum people are notorious for borrowing other people’s ideas. We consider it a great compliment.

Hogue: I remember when I took the job not knowing what an educational forest, well I wouldn’t even call it educational…it started out, Ralph Winkworth referred to them as mini-forests. Then we changed the name for some reason before they even opened, they were small state forests. People were always thinking that was some man’s name (laughter). So we changed the name.

Warren: They thought it was Mr. Small (laughter).

Hogue: We decided to change… And it just sounded small (laughter), so we changed the name early on, I guess in the early 70’s to early 80’s to educational state forests which we thought depicted what we were about. We were to be an educational facility from day one. It’s not like it’s a park and we’re going to make it an educational thing, it was designed with education in mind from the very git-go.

I remember getting together materials. I went and visited the National Park Service. Ralph did that, he traveled several places to look at other facilities. I went to Syracuse for instance and that area and looked at the parks that they had. Coming from Texas, of course I grew up in Houston which is a big city, but I’d never seen anything quite like that. We went to the parks that the people in New York went to and a picnic table could be 100 foot long or 200. I mean just a picnic table beside picnic table. That was a wilderness outdoor experience for someone who lived in New York City. It was a horrifying thing for any from the south to think they had to sit at a picnic table that long.

It would not be much of an outdoor experience. We couldn’t use exactly what they had. So I went to the National Park Service land between the lake, the TVA and looked at their facilities all along stealing ideas that most of the time we tried to improve upon. We went to, oh I can’t even remember all the places where I picked up ideas. I got a book from the National Park Service they told me to read, “Interpreting Your Heritage”.

Which is kind of the bible or used to be for interpreters. It still is considered that I believe as far as the philosophy of interpretation. I devoured that thing. I read it and read it and just loved it. So I was using it a lot, that gave me a basis for designing for the kinds of things we wanted to do. So we kind of got started with that and I put together a prospectus based on, a whole educational prospectus, the fact that we were going to have a two prong approach, what part of it will be interpretation, self-guided trails, the flip up ID signs, our exhibits that were available to look at.

Many of those you could participate in in looking at things, flipping up stuff and looking at them. In fact most of them we tried to make that way. Like we’d have a thing showing an acre of land in the woods over here. It would be marked off and you could stand on this, again it was an idea we picked up somewhere. You’d stand on this platform and arrows would point and you’d look and you’d see the mark over here on a tree. That was the corner of the acre. You’d turn and look and there was another arrow pointing over there to another tree. So you could look around and see what an acre looked like in a forest. It looks totally different in a forest than it does out in the open.

Warren: Looks bigger?

Hogue: It looks smaller usually.

Warren: That’s a simple, but very basic concept to get across.

Hogue: Because we’re always talking about acres of land, what’s an acre of land.

Warren: I know that I have no spatial sense. When somebody says an acre to me, I don’t think it’s nearly as big…our museum is 1.9 acres and I swear it seems like it’s about 3-1/2 acres, but you know I’ve had it remeasured. Now are we still in the 1971-72 era there when all of this is going on?

Hogue: Yes, I got here about ’71 and I didn't start actually working in the educational state forest stuff until probably early ’72 or mid ’72 actually. I designed a district office headquarters for about six months and then we finally got settled in and I started working on it.

It was odd, when I came here I had intended to come for three years. I had a plan that in three years the construction would be underway and then I’d move on to bigger and better things.

Warren: For this office you were planning.

Hogue: No, for the forest. I came here and my idea was to work three years. But three years got here and we were right on target. We were in the process of construction and we were developing the forest, but it was about ’75 and there was a recession going on. Anybody that had a job kept it at that time. That coupled with the fact that I was enjoying my work so much, so it’s now been 32 years (laughter). Three years turned into 32, but I have not regretted it of course.

Warren: I know how it is, you stay a little bit longer than you originally planned. I went to Cape Fear Museum with a two to three year plan and was there 18 years (laughter).

Hogue: (Laughter) So you understand fully.

Warren: Yes, I know exactly what you’re talking about sir. You know what struck me about the ad you were talking about, the ad said progressive state forest service. I mean progressive is not a word, it’s almost akin to liberal these days. North Carolina State Forest Service considered themselves ahead of the curve and were proud of it apparently.

Hogue: They actually were, in fire fighting, in lots of things and still are really nationwide in many areas, not just in education. We’re way out ahead on educational forestry. Still nothing in the nation like what we have. But in many areas, in our fire fighting ability, just to be in the southeast like we were, key factor California. Of course California is one of the finest fire fighting organizations in the world.

Warren: They have to be.

Hogue: But North Carolina hangs right in there. People are always wanting us to come out and help them with fires when they get in trouble and it was very progressive back then. Ralph Winkworth was a large part of that. He developed training programs. Very few forest services train like we do. We’re just constantly training on fire fighting and all the different aspects.

We do the planting of trees and good forest management, working with landowners, helping landowners develop their forest and care for their forest and those types of things.

Warren: He was a forester by training?

Hogue: He was a forester, yes, graduated from Syracuse. Because of his national emphasis and his national work, I think he was one time president, I’m not absolutely sure of this, of the National Association of State Foresters, but he was active in the national scene, in Washington, D.C. a lot. He was a lot like Stan is now. Stan works nationally on lots of issues and is on several boards with the National Association of State Foresters. He’s been real active in Washington, D.C, just like Ralph.

Warren: Do you know his era when he became the state forester and when he ended?

Hogue: Well he died basically, in the job, cancer. That would have been about ’79 I think.

Warren: So he lived long enough to see this idea of his bear some fruit. He supported you all the way and never felt like well this is a good idea. He was always involved in it.

Hogue: He got involved, but he supported us. We would have never built it without his dream. We would have never built it without his support because to be honest with you, most natural resource people just couldn’t understand why he was doing it, most of the people in the forest service. We built these forests with our folks, but would have never built it otherwise. We wouldn’t have gotten the funds to do it.

I put in for grants. I put in for five educational state forest grants, four of which we have today and the other one, we didn't get the grant for that one because there were too many other types of educational areas close to where this was so they decided not to give it to us. We got the Clemmons Educational State Forest close to Clayton, Rendezvous Mountain Education State Forest in Wilkes County close to Wilkesboro, Tuttle Educational State Forest between Lenore and Morganton and Holmes Educational State Forest between Brevard and Hendersonville.

We did some feasibility studies and determined that’s where we’d put these forests. I began to do the site planning to develop it. Once that was done and I put in for the grants, it wasn’t much money, about $150,000 if I recall right per forest.

Warren: Where did the grants come from?

Hogue: From the Land and Water Conservation Fund. There was an organization back then called the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation.

Warren: Was this a federal grant?

Hogue: Federal grants through the Department of Interior, Department of Interior and Land and Water Conservation Fund, Bureau of Outdoor recreation. State parks was administering, working with us on those grants. Since we had…we always told them this was an educational facility. It’s not a park. We’re not trying to compete with state parks. This is to teach about good forest management, that type of thing. They said because we had forest recreation elements that we could use the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation money. So that’s how we got the grants because we were going to have the 25 picnic sites and shelters and that kind of thing.

So that’s where we got the money. Then we had to match it in kind. So I recall when we first started, we didn't have any money. So we brought our people in. Ralph required each district to send people like we started at Clemmons right outside Raleigh.

Warren: That was the first one you started with was Clemmons.

Hogue: They would send a crew of men along with a cook. We’d put them in the old packing shed, it’s a pretty good size building. They brought in Army cots and the men slept there. They had a cook that would buy the food and cook it for the guys for lunch and supper, breakfast, all of it. These guys would work all week and go home on the weekend and another district would send in a crew of men or maybe four or five districts would send one person a piece, would be more like it actually worked.

Warren: You were waiting for somebody to authorize a big travel budget to send a crew down there so they could stay in a motel and have all their meals paid for and all of that stuff. We get so locked into that these days. I can’t do anything without a travel budget. You all just made it happen.

Hogue: Ralph just made it happen. He was a strong leader and when Ralph said do it, buddy you did it, there was no hem hawing around about it. So he required these guys to come and they built these forests. They built the first four forests.

Warren: What was entailed in building one of these forests?

Hogue: A bunch. We didn't have any money whatsoever. So we brought them in, they brought in their dozers and they pushed in the road into Clemmons through the woods.

Warren: Literally made the road into it.

Hogue: Made the road into it, there was nothing there. They pushed the road in and we had a lot of fatality in the forest service, construction type and all kinds. They pushed the road in. Then you would send that back to the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation for them to reimburse you. So we’d send it to them and how many man hours we put in it, how many dozers and their time, how many hours the dozers worked and the trucks worked and other kinds of equipment. Then we’d send it to the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and they’d send us money back.

That was the first time we had any money. Then we bought gravel (laughter). And that’s how we did it. We’d work, they’d send us money and we’d buy materials. We’d use those materials to do the building, we’d send a bill in, they’d send us more money in, we’d buy more materials. We had to build an office, kind of a shed type place for equipment and stuff, a little shop, not much of a shop though.

Most of it went strictly for the other, we had a shelter, a really nice shelter, they were heavy, heavy built, we wanted to go real heavy design. Much like the CCC to be honest with you, their stuff is still standing. We wanted ours to have a woodsy feel to it and have that kind of environment so we used 8 x 8’s. I can remember people wondering what they were looking at, the landscape architect – they had never seen a landscape architect and they weren’t sure they liked it anyway. You know, what’s the deal, 2 x 4 rafters and you could build this building and put a shelter up here and put picnic tables in it. But you don’t get the feel with a 2 x 4 construction that you get with an 8 x 8, it’s just a warm feeling. You’re creating an environment.

So everything we did was really simple structure with wood materials. We did the restrooms. We did a forestry center right up front to put the exhibits and stuff in. We put in the trails and parking lots and all that type of thing. It was a lot of work and men spent a lot of time on it.

Warren: Just on Clemmons to get it going?

Hogue: No, we started Clemmons and it wasn’t long after that we started working at Holmes. A year or so later we started at Tuttle Educational State Forest.

Warren: Before Clemmons and Holmes was finished.

Hogue: That’s right. We opened Holmes not much later than Clemmons I think. They all opened, they weren’t too far apart from one another as far as opening in about ’77.

Warren: Did you open up to considerable ballyhoo? This was such an innovative thing that I would think that the media would have been there.

Hogue: On the scope of like a state park that has a destination site like Morrow Mountain or Mount Mitchell or Ona Lake where there’s unique natural attractions that draw people, we were just using a piece of land holding the world together. There wasn’t anything unique about it. Anything that was unique about our property was what we put on there and that wasn’t all that unique, buildings, trails. But what we were about and our program was really different.

Warren: The concept of it was unique. Some of the oral histories I’ve done, I’ve asked some of these old foresters what’s the biggest challenge facing forestry today and a surprising number of them say education, getting the word out and that’s what they’re telling me right now, in 2002.

Hogue: But that’s what Ralph Winkworth understood in the late 60’s that hardly anyone understood. I don’t mean just foresters, natural resource professionals period whether it was in parks, land resources, water resource folks, wildlife, it made no difference.

Warren: Why do you imagine they weren’t thinking that way? Right now it seems like such a natural…

Hogue: Right, but he was a visionary. He saw what was coming. He saw that people were getting more and more interested. Mistakes had been made. The land had raped and plundered in some places. The people were rising up and saying is that right, you know, being asked questions. Before natural resource people just did what they wanted with the land because they were the professionals. But now you’ve got people saying is this right? Is this the only way this can be done. Is this right that you’re soaking up streams and killing things.

So questions began to be asked and there were mistakes made. Make no mistake about it, not so much by the natural resource professionals, but by the people cutting the timber and stuff, not everybody. But Ralph could see this trend moving where people…

Warren: Making mistakes like not replanting?

Hogue: Not replanting, not doing it in such a way to keep runoff on the site. Lots of things can be done and foresters are trained to do this kind of thing, to make a low impact when they’re doing these kinds of things. But getting that out to the people that are actually doing the cutting and the stuff way back then, you know, it just seemed like an endless supply of stuff.

In California they would see vistas of whole mountains stripped and no protection whatsoever, maybe not even any replanting. Still today, our job is to make sure we have forests in the future. Part of it’s protecting from wildfire. That’s just a part. We grow our own trees, we sell them at cost. We do all kinds of things to help the landowner draw up management plans, free of charge. We help the landowner replant so we’ll have forests in the future.

But Ralph was in on the national scene. He could see what was taking place and mistakes had been made. We needed to own up to it and start doing a better job. The whole job has always been education. It’s either landowner education so the landowner knows how to take care of it and knows to replant. We also help him do that. To the public in general, they need to be educated because the children…we decided we’d start working with the children because they’ll be the landowners in 20 years.

So we wanted them to understand that land could be managed, could be cared for and those types of things. And he just had a vision for that. He could see it and he was a strong enough leader to make it happen because we never would have been able to build these things if we had to contract. They never would have appropriated money. But they did let us do it the way he did it so he just did it with existing help and this changed priorities. So it didn't really cost anything to build it.

Warren: He didn't have to put in for two million dollars in the state budget to get appropriations to do this. He just made it happen through grants and available resources.

Hogue: That’s right. He was using his own folks. It would have happened no other way. It wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been a strong leader cause he had to make it happen. They didn't want to do it obviously. They had other jobs and he had to reprioritize.

Warren: Other people that he was recruiting in the state forest service. They were probably thinking, this wasn’t what I was hired for.

Hogue: That’s exactly right and the region foresters, the district foresters…

Warren: What kind of mess is this coming out of Raleigh.

Hogue: Yeah, what kind of mess is this and unless he’d been a strong leader, he just said we’re gonna do it, he listened to them and then told them what they were going to do. So like I said, each week a crew would show up with their own cook and they’d go home and the next week another crew would show up.

Warren: Did he take a personal interest in their development? That is did he go out on the site like here at Clemmons being pretty close to Raleigh on a monthly basis to kind of see what was going on or did he kind of have a hands off managerial approach?

Hogue: He had a hands off managerial approach really. He’d come by occasionally. He’d come by at night and visit with us sometimes. I’d spend a lot of time…

Warren: You were camping out there too?

Hogue: I didn't camp out, but I’d stay out there with the guys and we’d get together at night and tell stories and one thing or another.

Warren: That sounds like a pretty fun existence actually.

Hogue: It was, it was fun. It was very enjoyable.

Warren: What would you all do after you ate? I bet a lot of good ideas came from you living together.

Hogue: Oh yeah, a lot of times you would be talking about a better way to do something, a better way to do something we’d seen somewhere. I remember one for instance was a tree finder exhibit. You’ve probably seen them. We saw one at the land between the lakes and it sits on a pod and it turns. It’s got an opening and so you turn it and point it to a tree or an object or something out there. When you pointed it, you looked down and you could read what it is. It was an interpretive tool.

We were trying to figure out how to do it more rugged because the one I had seen was made out of wood and real rickety. Moody Clemmons, who the forest is named after, he had been at that site in the CCC’s. Those buildings are were all CCC buildings, the office, the package shed over there at our Clemmons facility, all built by the CCC. Moody had been there forever and he was also nursery supervisor. Then he became the first forest supervisor, educational state forester supervisor. He was involved in the construction and helping to oversee that as well.

I remember him, we were sitting and talking and he came up with the idea of using a farm disk and we went and found an old farm disk and we put one down. We welded a pole to it and then we put another farm disk on top of it and used a race and a bearing from a car, the front wheel of the car which would be indestructible, no one could tear it up. We’d bolt it and do a little welding on it. So you got one disk sliding on top of another disk, nothing to tear up. Then we cut a hole in one of them and put a little plexiglass there.

We had a lot of questions about the type of wood we use, we use _____ siding on our forestry center. People down here had not seen that, it’s a mountain thing made out of white pine. So there was a red dot on there and you’d look at that and it would tell you about the kind of wood. Then you’d turn it, there was a copper tube welded on that disk and you’d look through that tube and you’d see another dot down there in the woods.

You’d look at that and it would tell you what kind of tree and the kind of uses for it and some things of interest about it. One night we talked about it and Moody came up with this idea of the farm disk. It couldn’t have been built better for that kind of exhibit.

Warren: Does it still exist?

Hogue: Yes.

Warren: Really, it’s still over at Clemmons?

Hogue: I think it is, yeah. Some of the others took them down.

Warren: So you reproduced this for all the sites?

Hogue: Yes, we did. We’d make four or five of them.

Warren: Mr. Winkworth, when he would come out and chat with you all, was he always positive. Did he ever say, hey you’re going down the wrong path here, I want you to do this, that or the other thing?

Hogue: Basically he didn't get involved. He just trusted us with it. Of course I’d show him the plans of what we were going to try to do. He felt like that’s what he wanted all along, he just didn't know it until he saw it and that kind of thing. That’s very true, that’s exactly how it worked. I only recall him getting involved maybe one time about the location of one thing and that had to do more with Moody Clemmons not wanting it somewhere.

It had something to do with the entrance and the location of the office, but it was a minor thing. But Moody talked to him and that’s the only time I ever remember him getting involved in anything.

Warren: Well tell me a little bit about Moody Clemmons. He sounds like an interesting guy.

Hogue: Oh, he is an interesting guy. Moody hasn’t been dead all that many years, but the forest was named for him. It was a real blessing to him to have that done.

Warren: Was he a forester or owned land?

Hogue: No, he owned land. Moody owned a lot of land. He was very good with his money, investments and stuff and he did quite well. He worked, I don’t know, 40 some odd years. After he retired, he still worked forests part time doing some stuff with tree improvement over there at our facility in Clayton. He was interesting. He and I were good friends.

Warren: So he was a landowner who grew trees.

Hogue: Yeah, he grew trees. He owned a lot of land around the forest. He had purchased land which I might add he ended up giving the forest service. He increased the size of Clemmons Educational State Forest just before he died from 311 acres to 500 or 600. He owned land right beside us and he gave it to us for tax breaks and things. So it worked out for him and it worked out for us.

Warren: That brings up a good point Joe. Where did all the land come from? Really with all these forests, that’s quite a bit of land you’re tying up.

Hogue: We basically owned all of it. They were old nursery sites. Two of them were, Holmes Educational State Forest was a nursery site built by the CCC’s so most of the structures there were built by the CCC’s. Then Clemmons was an old nursery site started by the CCC’s as well. Just about the time I got here, they were moving the nursery to Goldsboro. But it was a nursery site as well.

Total, our regional forester named Colby, that was his nickname, I can’t think of his real name. Corpington was his last name, I cant remember his first name, but he was a regional forester. He had an aunt that had about 160 acres of land between Lenore and Morganton and she had been a missionary to China and inherited this land. So she came back. She always wanted the land and she set up a foundation to look after it after she died. But it was supposed to be used for educational purposes in the community.

So he said what we’re doing is what she wanted. So the foundation let us use the land. I can’t remember exactly what the lease was. I should be able to remember because I was involved in it, but it’s been a long time. But it’s still a lease situation and as long as we’re using it for educational purposes, we can use it. So that’s how we got that piece of property. It’s a beautiful piece of property. I remember walking over to it, looking at it. We said let’s do it.

Then Rendezvous Mountain belonged to the state parks. It’s a very small site, too small to be an effective operation as a state park and they wanted to get rid of it and pawned it off. We were crazy enough to take it. I still say that. It’s a beautiful site. The access is not good and it’s hard to get to. You just don’t happen by. So anyway we took that site from state parks and then I got a grant to get started building stuff there as well.

Warren: Well you know a lot of them aren’t that easy. I guess Clemmons is probably one of the easiest being right off the interstate and right out of Raleigh here. But Tuttle is out there like you said near Lenore. It took me some time to find that.

Hogue: Midway between those two places.

Warren: Yeah.

Hogue: Holmes is the same way.

Warren: Holmes exactly over there near Brevard near the other forestry museum. Then Turnbull Creek is out there in Bladen County. You’ve got to be looking for it.

Hogue: Like I said there was nothing unique about our sites and our access was not the best in the world. Rendezvous is the worst by a long shot.

Warren: Jordan Lake State Park Education, that’s pretty easy to get to. When did these two parks, the ones I just mentioned, Turnbull and Jordan Lake, does that complete the state educational forests that are in operation?

Hogue: We’ve got another one called Mountain Island. Mountain Island, it’s located close to Mount Holly right close to Charlotte. We’ve got one person hired and are trying to get appropriation. But right now is the situation kind of hard for that. It takes over a million dollars to develop one now. The only one that’s been developed with appropriation is Jordan Lake. We built that a few years ago and it’s going real well. It’s close to Chapel Hill.

Warren: And the land from that one just came from the state park.

Hogue: No, the land from that one came from the Corps of Engineers. They owned all that land they own all that land because it’s a corp lake. The state park owned some of it. The state park have over 1000 campsites on that lake. We still have our little 25 picnic sites (laughter). No telling how many picnic sites they have, multiple thousands. We just have our little 25 and our trails. Again we’re stressing education because if get into recreation, well we don’t need to in that business, we ought to give it to state parks. Those kind of battles have gone on over the years, they’ve almost been taken from us a time or two because some legislatures thought just like you said, well this is a state park. Why should two groups be doing the same thing. But until they saw our educational emphasis and all, and we’ve always been able to convince people that we are different because of our educational emphasis, not to say that state parks don’t have an educational emphasis, but we teach different things.

To be honest with you, nobody in the state is going to teach what we teach. There are nature centers. We have 150 nature centers that are part of the environmental education centers of the state, different kinds of nature centers and museums. There’s 150 in the state. Of course your museum is one of them, our educational forests are involved in it.

All of those, and they all have wonderful teaching programs, believe me, good ones. They teach about the natural history of the site and what have you. But we alone are the only ones that are teaching resource management of the site. The natural history is fine if people aren’t involved, but people are involved and we need to use forest materials, lumber, things like that. So the others are teaching the natural history of the site. You have to understand that to manage it, to interrupt it and manage it for other uses, for forest products and things.

We’re really the only ones out there that are teaching that aspect of it, to stop and say okay, this is how the forest grows and this is what happens with the animals and stuff. It can also be managed so people have wood products to use and we all use wood products you know. It’s everywhere that you look. So that’s an important message to give to children. I don’t think I’m exaggerating a bit to say we’re the only ones with a forest facility to come visit that’s teaching that message. You’ve got to be the next closest. But yours is…

Warren: We don’t have the forests though. You’ve got the real forests and what we’re trying to do is send folks, get them kind of oriented and give them a taste and then go out to your places in the state parks around North Carolina. At Turnbull I guess, you carved that out of Bladen Lakes.

Hogue: Carved it out of Bladen Lakes, took about 1200 acres out of Bladen Lakes State Park. Bladen lakes were 34,000 acres. We carved that part out. It started out Bladen Lakes wanted a driving trail. My boss, Graham Chamblee who I mentioned earlier, was over at Bladen Lakes.

Warren: You drive around the forest.

Hogue: Well you drive because it’s so big, you drive and it would have big signs that would talk about what we did on this piece of property versus what we did on a piece across the street or down the road and some places where you would actually pull over and get out and walk in the forest and look at different things that may have been done. Eventually it became let’s have an educational forest here, since we’ve already stated this other stuff. So we carved it out and it became Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest, but it’s within the bounds of Bladen Lake State Parks.

Warren: And Holly Tree in Charlotte is not open? That came from…

Hogue: It’s Mountain Island.

Warren: Where did I get Holly Tree from?

Hogue: Because I said Mount Holly is where it’s close to. It’s in Gaston County It’s real close to Charlotte and I-85 and 77 where they come together like this. It’s kind of in the middle. So it’s going to have tremendous access and tremendous use once we get it open. Crescent Lumber which is a subsidiary of Duke Power I believe, it’s their land management part. The foresters and people that manage their forest resources and so forth, they owned that and they gave it or sold it I guess through the Natural Heritage program.

There was an arrangement made and it was paid for through federal funds through the Natural Heritage program. Part of Gaston County got most of it and Lincoln County maybe a bit of it. But they got it with the understanding that they’ve give it to us, that we’d use it because what were they going to do with it, you know. They all liked the idea of an educational state forest and an educational facility because we’re a tremendous asset to a school system that we’re close to.

Like we just talked about, we were never to be a destination site. We would be a local site for the local community, to come in and use so we’d get a lot of repeat business. We’ve always known that and that’s the way it was always going to be because state parks naturally should have destination type sites where people can come for a week at a time.

So anyway we put that facility in, they got that land and gave it to us to manage for an educational state forest. There’s a lot of water there. It’s going to be a beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful piece of property.

Warren: Right now it’s not open to the public.

Hogue: Right now it’s not open to the public, a supervisor has been hired.

Warren: Can you imagine today just going over to the region and getting a bunch of foresters that work there and say, okay boys and girls, get your camping gear. We’re going to go out and spend some time in the woods and create…could that happen today?

Hogue: It couldn’t happen. A lot of it might be because we still have a lot of talented people, but they might know more about computers and things. Before they were old farmhands. They grew up on a farm. They could do a little welding. They could do a little of everything and that’s the kind of people you needed. So they were around to help us do these things.

One of the biggest reasons, not that that’s not a big enough reason , one of the biggest reasons might be that you couldn’t get it done through the state construction office. We drew up plans and stuff, I remember taking them over to meet with the head of the construction office, state construction office and he looked at it and he knew we were going to build it ourselves. He looked at it and we didn't even have any specs. Plans of a shelter, plans for the restrooms basically.

Warren: This didn't come from one of the high priced Raleigh architects.

Hogue: No, not at all. So he looked it over and said, oh you guys know what you’re doing, go do it. That would never happen today (laughter). I left there amazed that he passed off on it. So we went and did it and it worked out. We passed the inspections and all that and it worked out real well.

Warren: Joe, there’s only one problem doing an interview with you. I’m running out of tape and I could sit here and stand here and talk with you for another tape’s worth, but I’m not going to do that today. We are down to our last six minutes of tape so I’m going to focus on just a couple of quick things.

One, listening you to talk about how all this came together, it seems to me and correct me if I’m wrong, that really the miracle of the state educational state forests might have come from one progressive state forester’s mind, but that was just part of the equation. Another part of it was not only his vision, but also his strong leadership, the availability of land. You all didn't have to go out and buy…there was leftover land if you will here and there that you could get the first four started.

He hired obviously the right person with you, but I can’t believe that at least once or twice when you started this job, you must have shaken your head and said what have I gotten myself into. Did that ever occur to you? You had to be the right kind of open-minded person to make this happen for him.

Hogue: Well, no I never did. It always was an exciting prospect, to be able to be on the ground floor of something. I’m sure that’s the only reason I came, it’s that interesting. But now I don’t want to make it sound like it was all me. I was able to hire, I was over a group called the Design of Forest Interpretative Branch. It was a group of designers. Some of us called it the F Troop because we were so different than any landscape artists and people like that.

We were a real artsy creative type group. So we all worked together and we had a civil engineer work with us as well. We’d come up with what we wanted it to look like and he’d make sure it would stand.

Warren: So it was the right people and the availability of land all kind of came together here in North Carolina to create again a niche for itself in forestry. I mean so many firsts started in North Carolina as far as forestry goes. Through the years you started, you were hired when Bob Scott was governor, I am correct? … for not much longer and then Jim Martin, our first Republican governor since reconstruction came in.

Since then it’s been Republicans and Democrats kind of back and forth. Has political support been strong for the educational state forest program throughout?

Hogue: Not as strong as we would have liked to have. I’ve always talked to our guys about that we needed a champion because the concept is so good. To educate the local school systems, instead of five, there should be 15 or 20 around the state. Particularly rural areas where people get so out of touch with the environment, to have these facilities available for the school and the kids to come to and adults as well and learn about the forests.

We always needed a champion and we never really got one. I thought some governor might champion it sometime because he could leave a legacy of these forests. Everyone is always interested in education. I mean I haven’t even gotten into all that we do in education. My gosh, we do project learning tree workshops. We do investigative environment workshops. We’re planning on a new one today. As soon as I finish here, I’m going to Greensboro and put up an exhibit at the science teachers’ convention. We have about 1200 science teachers.

We’re going to advertise our investigative environment teacher workshop. We just developed a new junior forest ranger program that’s taking off like gangbusters across the state. I mean there’s a lot of stuff you can talk about.

Warren: Well exactly and we’re down to two minutes now and it’s blinking. I want to talk to you about the people involved now, how many people are working. But we’re not even gonna go there right now. The artifacts that you now have at these state educational parks, the turpentine still at Turnbull to the helicopters and the sawmills. How did all that come about, I mean don’t tell me. Save it for the next interview because I know there’s too much to talk about here.

Would you say that your audience has changed since the forest began? It seems like you were saying that originally a lot of the state educational audience were people that were actually harvesting wood and it kind of showed them manage techniques and replanting and that sort of thing.

Hogue: That’s really been a minor part. It’s always been the children’s because we knew that in 20 years, 30 years, they’re going to own the land, it’s going to change hands. The children bring the parents back out all the time to listen to the talk of trees and walk around and see the exhibits and those types of things. We reach teachers, do a lot of teacher workshops so that they can go back and use these activities and things in the classroom. Then you can talk about the forest service in general.

We have a county range organization in every county in the state. They’re going into schools. Putting on Smoky Bear programs, talking about protecting the forests from wildfire. They also talk about project learning tree type stuff, how to manage the land, how to care for it, those types of things. We do a lot of education.

Warren: You have educated some of the folks that actually produce the trees into manage forestry and concepts like that which was still fairly rare in 1971 when you began this.

Hogue: Most of that is done through our forest management, people who put on workshops for landowners. A lot of times they’ll work with the corporate extension as well on that. Sometimes they’ll use our forests to do that though.

Warren: Were they doing that in 1971 also?

Hogue: Not as much.

Warren: Not as much, even though it had been around for a while it was a cost that wasn’t being used. Well real quick is there anything you would like to add to part one of the interview with Joe Hogue? HOGUE: As far as from my standpoint it’s been a real blessing to have this opportunity, I’ve enjoyed it.

Warren: You’d do it over again?

Hogue: Oh yeah I have no regrets, and I was… (End of tape).

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