Meet The 9 Largest Landowners In North Carolina

Written by Eliana Riley
Updated: October 19, 2023
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Key Points

  • The state and federal government rank as the top two largest landowners in North Carolina.
  • Many of North Carolina’s largest landowners are forest and timber management companies.
  • Only one of North Carolina’s top nine largest landowners is an individual, as opposed to a company or government landowner.

#1 The State of North Carolina

The state government in North Carolina owns the largest portion of land in the state, amounting to around 2.8 million acres. In fact, the state government owns around 7% of land in North Carolina. The government uses this land for various purposes, including agriculture and conservation. In addition, the government also incorporates various recreational sites throughout the land they own, including state parks.

Grandfather Mountain State park in fall season. Grandfather Mountain is a mountain near Linville, North Carolina. At 5,946 feet, it is the highest peak on the eastern of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

State parks, such as Grandfather Mountain, are owned by the North Carolina state government, which is the state’s largest landowner.

©Chansak Joe/

#2 The United States Government

The U.S. Government holds the title of North Carolina’s second-largest landowner with approximately one million acres of land. Like the state government, areas owned by the U.S. government are also used for recreation and conservation. Furthermore, military bases throughout the state belong to the federal government.

View of the United States Capitol Rotunda Dome in Washington DC with the Star Spangled American Flag against colorful dramatic sunset sky background

The U.S. government owns over one million acres in North Carolina.


#3 The Conservation Fund

The Conservation Fund is a nationwide organization that works toward protecting and conserving land and water sources in North Carolina and the U.S. Throughout the U.S. alone, the Conservation Fund has protected more than 8.8 million acres of land since the mid-1980s. The Conservation Fund owns around 160,000 acres of land in North Carolina, making it the state’s third-largest landowner.

Aerial view of Lake Mackintosh surrounded by lush greenery. Burlington, North Carolina.

The Conservation Fund owns 160,000 acres in North Carolina as the state’s third-largest landowner.

©Wirestock/iStock via Getty Images

#4 The Weyerhaeuser Company

The Weyerhaeuser Company is a sustainable lumber company based in Seattle, Washington. The company works to produce excellent timber products while conserving the nation’s forests and habitats. The Weyerhaeuser Company takes the number four spot on the list of North Carolina’s largest landowners with 150,000 acres. One interesting fact about the Weyerhaeuser Company is that it is one of the state’s largest private landowners.

Beautiful Seattle in the Evening with Mt.Rainer

The Weyerhaeuser Company is based in Seattle, WA.


#5 The Forestland Group

The Forestland Group ranks as the fifth-largest landowner in North Carolina with 140,000 acres. One fascinating fact about this company is that its headquarters resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Forestland Group is a timber management company that owns land throughout the eastern half of the United States. Much like the Weyerhaeuser Company, the Forestland Group is committed to conservation and mitigating climate change while seeking economic prosperity through timber management.

Lumberjack with modern harvester working in a forest. Wood as a source renewable energy.

The Forestland Group strives for sustainability in its timber management practices.


#6 Duke Energy

In 2012, the Progress Energy Carolinas merged with Duke Energy, transferring the company’s 85,000 acres to Duke Energy. As a result, Duke Energy is now North Carolina’s sixth-largest landowner. Duke Energy is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is one of the largest energy holding companies in the country. Additionally, Duke Energy strives to create clean energy with reduced emissions by the year 2030.

A wonderful sunrise overlooking the city skyline of Charlotte North Carolina

Duke Energy acquired 85,000 acres from Progress Energy Carolinas and is headquartered in Charlotte, NC.

©Randy Kostichka/

#7 The American Timberlands Company

At spot number seven on the list of North Carolina’s largest landowners is the American Timberlands Company. The American Timberlands Company owns 75,000 acres in North Carolina. The company advertises itself as a land investment management company, including forest management, hunting leases, and land sales. The headquarters of American Timberlands is located in Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

Looking strait up in an Alaska rain-forest through Sitka Spruce

American Timberlands Company, based in South Carolina, owns 75,000 acres in North Carolina.

©Tim Hancock/

#8 Tim Sweeney

Tim Sweeney founded the popular video game company Epic Games, which produced one of the most popular video games in the world: Fortnite. Sweeney’s net worth is approximately $4.1 billion, and he lives in Cary, North Carolina. Apart from being a video game developer, Sweeney is also a conservationist, owning around 56,000 acres of land in North Carolina. Sweeney purchased this land to protect it from development and ranks as North Carolina’s eighth-largest landowner.

People Playing Fortnite

Tim Sweeney, the eighth-largest landowner in North Carolina, founded the company that produced the popular video game Fortnite.

©Sergey Galyonkin / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

#9 The Biltmore Estate

While the Biltmore Estate may not be the largest landowner in North Carolina, it holds the title of the state’s largest home. The Biltmore Estate owns approximately 8,000 acres of land, and the mansion covers an impressive 175,000 square feet. The Biltmore Estate opened in 1895 and was owned by the Vanderbilt family. As one of the largest and most exquisite homes in the United States, the Biltmore is a top tourist destination in North Carolina, including tours, special events, overnight stays, and a winery. The Biltmore Estate holds the number nine spot on the list of North Carolina’s largest landowners.

Front of Biltmore Estate, Asheville

The Biltmore Estate is the largest home in North Carolina and owns 8,000 acres in the state.

©24dupontchevy / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

The Top 9 Landowners in North Carolina: A Summary

#1The State of North Carolina2.8 million
#2The U.S. Government1 million
#3The Conservation Fund160,000
#4The Weyerhaeuser Company150,000
#5The Forestland Group140,000
#6Duke Energy85,000
#7The American Timberlands Company75,000
#8Tim Sweeney56,000
#9The Biltmore Estate8,000

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alexander Lukatskiy/

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About the Author

Eliana Riley is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on geography, travel, and landmarks. Eliana is a second-year student at Miami University majoring in English Education and Spanish. A resident of Tennessee and Ohio, Eliana enjoys traveling to national and state parks, hiking, kayaking, and camping.

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