This land is their land, and so is that land over there

Three Northwest families make the top 10 in a new survey of the nation's largest landholders.
Three Northwest families make the top 10 in a new survey of the nation's largest landholders.

The Land Report, a Dallas-based magazine, is out with a list of the 100 largest landowners in the nation, and it makes fascinating reading. Topping the list at 2 million acres in 10 states is Ted Turner, while coming in a close second is Archie Aldis (Red) Emmerson, with 1.7 millions acres of California and Washington timberland, part of the fairly obscure Sierra Pacific Industries that grew out of Emmerson's humble start as a Newburg, Ore., sawmill. Other members of the top 100 list with significant holdings in the Northwest: 8. The Reed family, with 770,000 acres. This is the Seattle family descended from the Simpson Timber Co., founded in 1890 and with extensive acreage in Washington, Oregon, and California. 9. The Kenneth Ford family, with 740,000 acres of Oregon and California timberland, accumulated by a conservation-minded family that began with a sawmill operation in Roseburg, Ore. 16. J.R. Simplot of Idaho, with 356,000 acres of land used for agriculture, livestock, and the company's signature potatoes. 23. Jeff Bezos, the CEO, with 290,000 acres comprising several West Texas ranches, one of which is used for his space exploration company, Blue Origin. 33. Tim Blixseth, the timber and luxury resort tycoon, with 180,000 acres in Idaho. 46. The Hampton family, which owns five sawmills and has 167,000 acres of timberland in Oregon and Washington. 51. The Eddy family, at 160,000 acres, much of which is part of the Port Blakely Co., a Northwest timber firm that goes back to the 19th century and now owns land in Washington, Oregon, and New Zealand. 91. Dennis Washington, with 100,000 acres assembled by this multifaceted Northwest entrepreneur. The Wall Street Journal picks up on this story and notes that rich Americans are now accumulating vast holdings in remote parts of the country, much as this class once purchased rare art. Some locals are outraged to find large portions of land suddenly off limits. A few of the purchasers of large properties have social goals in mind, such as conservation. Turner, for instance, who holds 15 ranches in seven Western states, is doing his part to bring back bison, and has a herd of 45,000.


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