Missouri is a state with diverse landscapes, rich history, and abundant natural resources. It has over 44 million acres of land, of which about 60% is privately owned. But who are the largest landowners in Missouri, and what do they do with their land? In this article, we will reveal the top 10 landowners in Missouri and explore their backgrounds, interests, and impacts on the state.
Top 10 Landowners in Missouri
1. The State of Missouri
The largest landowner in Missouri is the state itself, which owns over 3 million acres of land. This includes state parks, conservation areas, historic sites, and other public lands. The state manages these lands for various purposes, such as recreation, education, wildlife protection, and natural resource conservation. Some of the most popular state-owned attractions in Missouri are the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, the Mark Twain State Park in Florida, and the Katy Trail State Park that spans across the state.
2. The United States Government
The second-largest landowner in Missouri is the federal government, which owns over 1.4 million acres of land. This includes national forests, wildlife refuges, military bases, and other federal properties. The federal government administers these lands through various agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Park Service. Some of the most notable federal lands in Missouri are the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the Mark Twain National Forest, and the Fort Leonard Wood Military Reservation.
3. Missouri Department of Conservation
The third-largest landowner in Missouri is the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), which owns over 460,000 acres of land. The MDC is a state agency that was established in 1937 to restore and manage the state’s fish, forest, and wildlife resources. The MDC owns and operates conservation areas, nature centers, shooting ranges, fish hatcheries, and other facilities that provide opportunities for outdoor recreation, education, research, and wildlife management. Some of the most visited MDC properties are the Busch Wildlife Area in St. Charles County, the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, and the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery in Branson.
4. The Ted Turner Reserves
The fourth-largest landowner in Missouri is Ted Turner, a media mogul and philanthropist who owns over 149,000 acres of land in the state. Turner is the founder of CNN, TNT, TBS, and other cable networks. He is also a passionate environmentalist and conservationist who owns more than 2 million acres of land across the U.S., making him the second-largest individual landowner in the country. Turner’s properties in Missouri are part of his Ted Turner Reserves, a collection of luxury eco-tourism destinations that offer guests access to his private ranches and wildlife reserves. Some of his ranches in Missouri are the Bar K Ranch near West Plains, the Flying S Ranch near Salem, and the Osage Hills Ranch near Rolla.
5. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways
The fifth-largest landowner in Missouri is the National Park Service (NPS), which owns over 80,000 acres of land in the state2. The NPS is a federal agency that manages national parks and other natural and cultural heritage sites across the U.S. The NPS’s largest property in Missouri is the Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR), which was established in 1964 as America’s first national park to protect a river system. The ONSR encompasses over 134 miles of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers in southern Missouri, along with their surrounding forests, caves, springs, and historic sites. The ONSR attracts over one million visitors annually who enjoy activities such as canoeing, camping, fishing, hiking
6. The Weyerhaeuser Company
The sixth-largest landowner in Missouri is the Weyerhaeuser Company, a timber and forest products company that owns over 75,000 acres of land in the state. Weyerhaeuser is one of the world’s largest private owners of timberlands, with more than 24 million acres of land in the U.S. and Canada. Weyerhaeuser’s lands in Missouri are mainly located in the southeast region of the state, where it operates several mills and plants that produce lumber, plywood, oriented strand board, and other wood products. Weyerhaeuser also manages its lands for wildlife habitat, recreation, and conservation.
7. The Pioneer Forest
The seventh-largest landowner in Missouri is the Pioneer Forest, a privately owned forest that covers over 65,000 acres of land in the state. The Pioneer Forest is owned by the L-A-D Foundation, a non-profit organization that was founded in 1962 by Leo Drey, a businessman and conservationist who is considered to be the father of sustainable forestry in Missouri. The Pioneer Forest is managed according to the principles of natural forest management, which aim to preserve the ecological integrity, diversity, and productivity of the forest. The Pioneer Forest is open to the public for hiking, hunting, fishing, and other low-impact activities.
8. The Bass Pro Shops
The eighth-largest landowner in Missouri is Johnny Morris, the founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, a retail chain that specializes in outdoor gear and equipment. Morris owns over 50,000 acres of land in Missouri, most of which are part of his Big Cedar Lodge resort near Branson. Big Cedar Lodge is a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of accommodations, amenities, and attractions, such as golf courses, spas, museums, restaurants, and wildlife parks. Morris also owns Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, a 10,000-acre preserve that features trails, waterfalls, caves, and wildlife.
9. The University of Missouri
The ninth-largest landowner in Missouri is the University of Missouri (MU), which owns over 40,000 acres of land in the state. MU is a public research university that was founded in 1839 as the first public institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River. MU’s lands include its four campuses in Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, and St. Louis, as well as its research farms, forests
10. The Missouri Botanical Garden
The tenth-largest landowner in Missouri is the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG), which owns over 30,000 acres of land in the state. The MBG is a botanical research and education institution that was founded in 1859 by Henry Shaw, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist. The MBG’s main campus in St. Louis is one of the oldest and most beautiful botanical gardens in the world, featuring a variety of gardens, conservatories, and collections of plants from around the globe. The MBG also owns and manages several other properties in Missouri, such as the Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in Chesterfield, and the Commerce Bank Center for Science Education in St. Louis.
Missouri is a state with many large and influential landowners, who own and manage millions of acres of land for various purposes. Some of these landowners are public entities, such as the state and federal governments, the MDC, and the MU. Some are private individuals or organizations, such as Ted Turner, Johnny Morris, the L-A-D Foundation, and the MBG. Some are corporations or businesses, such as Weyerhaeuser and Bass Pro Shops. All of these landowners have a significant impact on the economy, environment, culture, and history of Missouri.
Most Asked Questions and Answers
Here are some of the most asked questions and answers about the top 10 landowners in Missouri:
Q: Who is the largest individual landowner in Missouri?
A: The largest individual landowner in Missouri is Ted Turner, who owns over 149,000 acres of land in the state.
Q: Who is the largest private landowner in Missouri?
A: The largest private landowner in Missouri is Weyerhaeuser, a timber and forest products company that owns over 75,000 acres of land in the state.
Q: Who is the largest public landowner in Missouri?
A: The largest public landowner in Missouri is the state itself, which owns over 3 million acres of land.
Q: How much land does Missouri have?
A: Missouri has over 44 million acres of land, of which about 60% is privately owned.
Q: How much land does the federal government own in Missouri?
A: The federal government owns over 1.4 million acres of land in Missouri.
Q: How much land does the state government own in Missouri?
A: The state government owns over 3 million acres of land in Missouri.
Q: How much land does the MDC own in Missouri?
A: The MDC owns over 460,000 acres of land in Missouri.
Q: How much land does Ted Turner own in Missouri?
A: Ted Turner owns over 149,000 acres of land in Missouri.
Q: How much land does Johnny Morris own in Missouri?
A: Johnny Morris owns over 50,000 acres of land in Missouri.
Q: How much land does the MBG own in Missouri?
A: The MBG owns over 30,000 acres of land in Missouri.