Meet the 3 Largest Landowners in New Jersey

Written by Crystal
Updated: May 12, 2023
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William Bryce Thompson IV was nicknamed the “landman” in New Jersey.

William passed away in June 2019, but his land legacy lives on. The real estate mogul was an influential figure in the Princeton area. He is most fondly remembered for using some of his wealth to purchase and protect land for future generations. Thompson’s legacy lives on through the countless acres of preserved green space. The land spans Mercer County, which was once part of his properties. What other top landowners should you know about?

Read on to learn about the top landowners in New Jersey.

1. Federal Government – 171,956 Acres

Jersey City, New Jersey
The federal government is the biggest landowner in New Jersey.


The federal government owns 171,956 acres of land in New Jersey. This makes them the largest landowner in the Garden State. The 171,956 acres account for 3.6% of all the land in the state. This includes national parks, forests, and military installations.

The total amount of land owned by the federal government in New Jersey may be small compared to some other states. But its national parks have attracted millions of visitors over the years. In 2018, over five million visitors visited the national park sites, historic regions, and trails.

The most famous park is Ellis Island. This was the gateway for 12 million immigrants arriving from Europe between 1892-1954 seeking a better life in America. Its historic sites offer a tangible reminder of the past and the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Other national parks in New Jersey include the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. There’s also the Liberty State Park and Morristown National Historical Park.

New Jersey also offers many recreational activities, such as hiking, camping, biking, hunting, fishing, and more! From wild forests to inspiring beaches, there’s something for everyone in one of the most densely populated states in the country!

2. Public Service Enterprise Group – 4,000 Acres

The Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) owns 4,000 acres of land in New Jersey. As the largest energy company in New Jersey, PSEG is among the top landowners in the state. This diversified energy company owns more than 4,000 acres of land, including plots of land once owned by William Bryce Thompson IV.

PSEG is committed to utilizing and protecting its lands. They do this while providing essential services to customers throughout New Jersey. The holdings include properties used for power plants and transmission lines. These holdings help to support electricity needs throughout New Jersey and its surrounding areas. Their vast portfolio also includes interests beyond N.J.’s borders. They have investments in the energy sector in other states.

Additionally, PSEG owns and operates several other businesses. These businesses include nuclear power generation sites, environmental services, and non-utility businesses. As a leading energy provider in the region, PSEG has achieved many awards and accolades over the years. It’ll be interesting to see how they help New Jersey grow in the coming years.

3. Jeff Gural – 1,000 Acres

Jeff Gural owns 1,000 acres of land in New Jersey. He’s one of the most influential landowners in New Jersey. Jeff owns Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford and Freehold Raceway in Freehold. He owns several other racetracks throughout the U.S., including Tioga Downs in New York and Vernon Downs in Upstate New York.

Gural’s new 30-year lease with Meadowlands Racetrack will boost the state’s racing industry. Under the terms of the agreement, Gural has pledged to invest $100 million in upgrades and improvements over 10 years. After that, he’ll take full control of operations at the track.

In addition to investing in infrastructure, Gural has promised to hold a full slate of races starting January 6, 2023. The move is expected to create hundreds of jobs for racetrack employees and horse owners throughout New Jersey. It also provides an economic benefit to local businesses. These businesses depend on the activity generated by race days at the track for their livelihoods.

The long-term lease isn’t just good news for the racing industry. It’s also a win for taxpayers in New Jersey, as it will save them millions of dollars per year that had previously been used to subsidize the track. Governor Christie has long sought a private operator for the track, and Gural’s lease is certainly a step in the right direction.

Summary of the 3 Largest Landowners in New Jersey

Here’s a quick recap of the three top owners of land in the state of New Jersey:

RankLandownerLand Size
1Federal Government171,956 acres
2Public Service Enterprise Group4,000 acres
3Jeff Gural1,000 acres

Final Thoughts on the Top Landowners in New Jersey

Now you know about the most significant 3 landowners in New Jersey. The Federal Government ranks number one by owning over 170,000 acres of land! That land is being used well, evident in the state’s national parks and historic sites. There’s also Jeff Gural, who owns much less land than the federal government but still makes a big impact. His racetrack will help boost the state’s economy!

To conclude, it’s clear that these top landowners will play an important role in how New Jersey continues to evolve and thrive. Check out the articles below to learn more about the Garden State!

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Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City, New Jersey
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About the Author

Crystal is always looking to learn more, and share her finds with you along the way. It's amazing how you can spend your entire life living with plants and animals, but still know so little about them! Let's explore our world together as Crystal covers topics about creatures, places, and experiences.

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  1. Princeton Info, Available here:
  2. Congressional Research Service, Available here:
  3. Ballotopedia, Available here:
  4. New Jersey Government (1970) New Jersey State Parks, Forests, Recreation Areas and Marinas December 15, 2014