Familiar Idahoans Make List Of America's Largest Private Landowners

Oct 8, 2013

The magazine The Land Report, targeted at people who own a lot of land, published its list of America’s largest landowners last week. Media tycoons John Malone and Ted Turner  top the list of 100 with more than 2 million acres apiece.

And it's no surprise that some familiar Idaho names appear on the list. 

Here's how they stack up.

#18 The Simplot Family

Among Simplot family property is this construction sight in downtown Boise. The building going up is called JUMP, short for Jack's Urban Meeting Place. The Jack is family patriarch J.R. Simplot.
Credit Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

According to The Land Report the descendants of potato processing pioneer J.R. Simplot own 422,164 acres, or about 660 square miles.

This is more than eight times the size of Boise. It’s four and half times the size of Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille.

The Land Report list counts acres owned by individuals or families, not corporations. But in cases like the Simplots, where a family owns a company, the distinction isn’t clear.

#19 The Holding Family

The Holdings inherited the Sun Valley ski resort from the late Earl Holding, along with property throughout the West totaling 400,000 acres.

#94 Frank VanderSloot

The founder of Melaleuca Inc. is known in Idaho political circles for his support of conservative causes and candidates. Though VanderSloot’s company sells personal care products, he also raises horses and cattle on his 110,448 acres. That’s more than 170 square miles, or a little more than twice the size of Boise.

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