By Montana Grant

Posted: January 13, 2022

Big Sky Country is the Last Best Place. Who owns the State’s 95,155,800 acres?

Top 10 landowners.

  1. Plum Creek Timber                    765,925 acres. Mainly in NW MT.
  2. Faris and Dan Wilks                     358,837 acres. Texans that own land in central MT.
  3. Galt Family                    248,023 acres. Inherited property from Louise Rankin in central MT.
  4. Stan Krcenke                     225,162 acres. Owner of Denver Nuggets. Non-Resident.
  5. Robert Earl Holdings                    213,462 acres. Utah resident. Sinclair Oil.
  6. Coffee Family                    212,633 acres. Stockman Bank
  7. Great Northern Properties 153,056 acres. Natural Resource Investment Co. SE MT.
  8. The Church of Latter-Day Saints 151,840 acres. Livingston, Miles City, and Harlowton areas.
  9. Ted Turner                                     151,840 acres. Media Mogul Flying D Ranch. Gallatin and              other counties.  
  10. John Hillenbrand                           118,417 acres. Jordan, MT area.

These 10 landowners’ control 2% of Montana. 2,597,225 acres.

The state of Montana owns    5,196,400 acres. 5.6% of the state. Much of this land is landlocked and surrounded by private ownership with no public access. This includes School Trust Land.

The Federal Government owns 27,276,820 acres. This includes Forest Service and BLM. 29.3% of the state.

Tribal Lands own   2.86 million acres of the state.

Farmers and Ranchers own   58,100,00 acres (2nd in the nation behind Texas)

National Parks and Wildlife refuges own 2.35 million acres of Montana.

Other Private Landowners own 60,682,580 acres of Montana. 2.8%

Montana boasts that 3 million acres have public access. Half of this property is landlocked with private holdings.

Thanks to Block Management and other programs designed to allow public access, 5.2 million acres are available. Landowners are awarded tax incentives to open their gates to the public. $2 of license fees go to State School Trust lands.

Keep in mind that these numbers are constantly changing as new sales and transfers occur. The numbers listed may not be 100 % exact. At the least, they are close.

Montana Grant

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