Meet the Largest Landowners in Washington

Written by Nilani Thiyagarajah
Updated: October 4, 2023
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There are many types of land in the United States. The country has many different climates, and the landscapes vary as a result. Most people simply own or rent one piece of property for themselves to live. However, there are many large landowners throughout the United States. Whether the properties that are owned are simply land with no buildings or land that contains residential/commercial properties, the land itself has value. This is why it is significant to acknowledge which people own the most land in the country. Keep reading to learn about the largest landowners in Washington!

1. The Weyerhaeuser Company The Largest Landowner in Washington

The Weyerhaeuser Company, which is based in Seattle, is the largest landowner in Washington. This is an American timberland company that owns over 12 million acres of land in the United States.

The company owns more than 900,000 acres of land in the state of Washington alone. This company was founded in Tacoma in 1900 and manages land in both the United States and Canada.

The Weyerhaeuser Company is a real estate investment trust that maintains all of its properties via long-term leases. They have manufactured wood products since their inception. The land that this company currently owns in Washington was involved in its official establishment as a company.

This company has also merged with Plum Creek, which is the largest private landowner in Georgia.

The Weyerhaeuser Company was founded in Tacoma in 1900 and manages 900,000 acres of land in the state of Washington alone.

©Earl’s Photos/Shutterstock.com

2. The Second Largest Landowner in Washington

The second largest landowner in Washington is the Reed family. Based in Tacoma, they own 770,000 acres of land. They are also the ninth-largest landowner in the United States. This business family focuses on land ownership.

Currently, they are in control of Simpson Investment Company. They established the company in 1890. The family is the fourth largest private landowner in the country, also owning properties in Oregon and California.

The family was established by Mark Edward Reed, the patriarch. He was a failed logger hired to manage the Simpson Logging Company. He assumed control of the company when the owner died. Eventually, he transformed the company into one focusing on forest products and then entered the hemlock lumber manufacturing business.

In 2014, his descendants bought 600,000 acres of timberland in Oregon. Currently, they own 1.37 million acres of land across three states.

The Reed family, based in Tacoma, owns 770,000 acres of land in the state of Washington.

©Alberto Masnovo/Shutterstock.com

The Largest Landowner in the United States

The Emmerson family, headed by Red Emmerson, are the largest private landowners in the country. They reside in California and own over 2.4 million acres of land. Although the majority of this land is in California, they also own large amounts of land in Oregon and Washington. 

Red Emmerson is the founder of Sierra Pacific Industries. This company is now the second-largest producer of lumber in the country. This lumber product company operates in the states of Washington, Oregon, and California.

The Emmerson family has donated millions of dollars in community contributions through the Sierra Pacific Foundation.

Other Large Landowners in the United States

John Malone — 2.2 Million Acres

John Malone is the owner of about 2.2 million acres of land. This is more than twice the size of Rhode Island. Most of the land he owns is in Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, and Maine.

He is the owner of Silver Spur Ranches, a wrenching and beef company. This includes properties in Wyoming, New Mexico, Florida, and Colorado. He also has international real estate holdings in Ireland.

Ted Turner — 2 Million Acres

Ted Turner is the third largest private landowner in the United States. He is also the second-largest individual landowner in all of North America. Turner is the owner of ranches that rely on hunting, fishing, and more than 45,000 bison. These branches support several environmentally progressive projects.

Turner owns a total of 14 ranches in South Dakota, New Mexico, Nebraska, Montana, and Kansas. Additionally, he runs three ranches in Argentina.

Stan Kroenke — 1.627 Million Acres

Stan Kroenke is a sports magnate who owns 1.627 million acres of land. This includes the Waggoner Ranch in Texas, which is one of the 20 largest cattle ranches in the United States. He also owns farms in Montana, Wyoming, and Arizona. Additionally, he owns property in British Columbia.

Irving Family — 1.267 Million Acres

The Irvings have been one of the wealthiest families in the country, starting in 1881. This is when they founded their dynasty. Their varied investments are now estimated to be worth 4 billion dollars. Their refineries in Canada provide the United States with about 20% of its oil imports.

This family is the single largest landowner in Maine, owning about 1.267 million acres of land there. Additionally, they own about 2 million acres of land in New Brunswick, Canada, and Nova Scotia.

Buck Family — 1.236 Million Acres

The Buck family owns 1.236 million acres of land. The patriarch, Peter Buck, was a physicist and restaurateur. He co-founded the Subway chain. Additionally, he was the owner of Tall Timber Trust. This was one of the largest timberland owners in the state of Maine.

Singleton Family — 1.1 Million Acres

This family owns approximately 1.1 million acres of land. Most of this land includes ranches in the state of New Mexico. Henry Singleton was an engineer who co-founded Teledyne. His descendants run Singleton Ranches, whose headquarters are in Santa Fe. This is one of the largest breeders of horses and cattle in the country.

This family also owns some land in California.

Brad Kelley — 1 Million Acres

Brad Kelley is a reclusive billionaire who owns 1 million acres of land. He became wealthy through his involvement in the discount cigarette business. Specifically, he sold the Commonwealth Brands cigarette company and started to invest in land.

His most recent holdings include ranchland in the Big Bend region of Texas. He also owns land in New Mexico and Florida.

King Ranch Heirs — 911,215 Acres

The King Ranch Heirs own about 911,215 acres of land. Just one single four-parcel ranch that they own in southern Texas spans across 825,000 acres. It is the largest ranch in the state, spreading across four counties. They also own land in Florida.

The Largest Landowners in the United States

RankLandownerAcreage
1Red Emmerson2.4 Million
2John Malone 2.2 Million
3Ted Turner2 Million
4Stan Kroenke1.627 Million
5Irving Family1.267 Million
6Buck Family1.236 Million
7Singleton Family1.1 Million
8Brad Kelley1 Million
9King Ranch Heirs911,215

Who Are the Largest Landowners in the United States?

The U.S. Capitol grounds are decorated with cherry blooms in the springtime.

The U.S. Government owns 640 million acres of land, making it the largest landowner in the United States.

©iStock.com/BeeCoolPhoto

There are two worth mentioning as relating to the largest landowners in the United States. The first is probably pretty obvious-the U.S. Government. Shared between the National Park Service,  the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Defense, over 640 million acres of U.S. land are owned by the Federal Government. That’s roughly ⅓ of all the land in the United States, which averages out to a total of 2.3 billion acres.

The largest landowner in the United States other than the Federal Government is the Emmerson family, whose patriarch Red Emmerson founded Sierra Pacific Industries in Anderson, California. This company is focused on lumber production, operating a number of sawmills. The Emmerson family owns approximately 2,330,000 acres of land.

The other top largest landowners in the U.S. are:

  • John Malone–2,200,000 acres (land committed to conservation)
  • The Reed Family–2,100,000 acres (lumber production and forests)
  • Ted Turner–2,000,000 acres (ranching and agricultural research)
  • Stan Kroenke–1,627,500 acres (farmland, ranches, renewable energy)

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sean-ONeill/Shutterstock.com


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