October 13, 2019  
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Who owns (the most land in) Maine?
Who owns (the most land in) Maine?
With the collapse of U.S.-based paper company ownerships in the Maine Woods, land barons and foreign corporations are increasing their stakes.

According to the latest Land Report, 5 of the 11 largest landowners in America own a lot of property in Maine. Here is their ranking and total acreage in the U.S.:
1. John Malone, 2.2 million acres
2. Ted Turner, 1.92 million acres
6. Irving Family, 1.25 million acres
9. Peter Buck, 930,000 acres
11. Pingree Heirs, 830,000 acres

No. 1 John Malone
2,200,000 acres
In addition to its focus on the productivity and profitability of its cattle operations, Malone’s SILVER SPUR RANCHES makes the preservation of historic structures and time-tested traditions a priority as well. One of the many examples of this takes place on New Mexico’s BELL RANCH, an historic land grant that dates back to 1824. In 2010, Malone acquired the Bell from the heirs of William Lane, who had reassembled 290,100 acres of the original Pablo Montoya grant. Two years later in 2012, a chuck wagon rolled out of Bell Ranch headquarters and the crew spent the next four weeks preparing grub for Bell cowboys during spring works. The wooden-wheeled wagon was pulled by a pair of Bell Quarter Horses. “We’ve been so fortunate that Silver Spur has bought the Bell Ranch and has allowed us to maintain some of these old traditions and bring some of them back,” said Kris Wilson, the Bell manager who resurrected the tradition.

No. 6 Irving Family
1,247,880 acres (up 1,644 acres)
J.K. Irving planted the company’s one billionth tree in July. Quite an accomplishment for a family rooted in the legacy of patriarch James Dergavel Irving, whose grandparents emigrated from Scotland with plenty of hope and little else. In 1882, J.D. opened a sawmill in New Brunswick, the first in a series of ventures that would usher in decades of entrepreneurial growth. Today, the Irvings rank as Maine’s largest private landowners. The family also owns some 1.9 million acres in Canada. Each year, the US and Canadian divisions plant a combined 20 million trees. Other Irving family enterprises include newspapers and petrochemicals. In October, an explosion rocked an Irving Oil facility — Canada’s largest refinery — in Saint John, New Brunswick. Four workers were injured in the blast, but thankfully no fatalities were reported. The refinery produces more than 320,000 barrels of gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil, and other products every day. More than half of the production is exported to the US.

No. 9 Peter Buck
925,000 acres (up 125,000 acres)
How many Subway Cold Cut Combos go into an acre of timberland? (Here’s a hint: It doesn’t matter if you order a six-inch combo or the footlong.) Only a nuclear physicist could answer that correctly, right? Exactly. A nuclear physicist by the name of Peter Buck. Dr. Buck’s TALL TIMBERS TRUST has emerged as one of the largest owners of timberland in the Pine Tree State. And it’s all because Buck gave a college freshman (and family friend) named Fred DeLuca $1,000 and the idea to open a submarine sandwich shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut. That partnership has since manifested itself in 40,000 locations — and 925,000 acres of timberland.

No. 11 Pingree Heirs
830,000 acres (up 125,000 acres)
Pingree lands are consolidated in Maine and owned by fifth-, sixth-, and seventh generation descendants of David Pingree (1795–1863). Known as the Merchant Prince of Salem, Pingree’s nineteenth-century empire ultimately exceeded 1 million acres, including tracts in 100 different Maine townships as well as in Kentucky, Ohio, New Hampshire, Texas, and Wisconsin. His heirs manage their holdings via Bangor-based SEVEN ISLANDS LAND COMPANY, which produces lumber via Maine Woods Company and birch, oak, and maple flooring through Moosewood Millworks.

FMI: https://www.landreport.com/americas-100-largest-landowners/

Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019 (Archive on Monday, October 7, 2019)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre   Contributed by Jym St. Pierre
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