Special Report

These People Own the Most Land in America

Source: Courtesy of Roseburg Forest Products via Facebook

15. Ford family
> Land area: 600,000 acres
> Roughly equal to: Twice the size of Los Angeles

The descendants of the late Kenneth Ford own 580,000 acres primarily in Oregon. Ford made a career in the timber business during the Great Depression.

Source: tfoxfoto / Getty Images

14. Lykes Heirs
> Land area: 615,000 acres
> Roughly equal to: Three times the size of New York City

The Lykes heirs own a 300,000+ acre ranch in Florida, which includes sugar cane and cattle operations, as well as a 264,555-acre ranch in West Texas. The Lykes heirs are descendants of the late Dr. Howell Tyson Lykes, who left a career in medicine to raise cattle and grow citrus.

Source: Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

13. Briscoe family
> Land area: 640,000 acres
> Roughly equal to: Three times the size of Dallas

The combined landholdings of the heirs of former Texas governor, the late Dolph Briscoe Jr., total 640,000 acres. Their holdings include the 100,000-acre Catarina Ranch in southern Texas.

Source: Courtesy of FTS International

12. Wilks Brothers
> Land area: 705,475 acres
> Roughly equal to: Five times the size of Chicago

Brothers Farris and Dan Wilks launched Frac Tech, a natural gas extraction company in 2002 and sold it for $3.5 billion in 2011. Since then, they have been acquiring land. The largest landowners in both Montana and Idaho, the Wilks brothers also own ranches in Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas.

Source: mountinez / Getty Images

11. Pingree Heirs
> Land area: 830,000 acres
> Roughly equal to: Two and a half times the size of Phoenix

David Pingree, known as the Merchant Prince of Salem, built an empire that exceeded 1 million acres in the 1800s. Today, between his fifth, sixth, and seventh generation of descendants, Pingree’s heirs own some 830,000 acres, mostly in Maine, through Seven Islands Land Co., a lumber company.