The North Carolina Public Interest Research Group released a study this week that presses the panic button on the loss of the state’s open land.

The report claims that “every day, we lose another 277 acres of North Carolina’s open space — an area bigger than 200 football fields — to development.”

Elizabeth Ouzts, NCPIRG’s director, said in an AP story (with no apologies to Joni Mitchell) that “if current development trends continue in the mountains and in the Triangle, the only farmlands left to pave will be in paradise.”

Well, I did the math. North Carolina has 33,719,040 acres of land. As of 2002 the state had 4,405,000 acres of developed land (according to NCPIRG). At a rate of loss of 277 acres per day, North Carolina will be totally developed in 290 years.

Do football fields count as developed land or open space?