You could say it HAS to be a big sky, since it's responsible for covering 95,155,800 acres of country we are proud to call Montana.

And full disclosure, this is not a political rant, a condemnation of the wealthy or criticism of how any of that private acreage is being used, nor what they should or should not be doing with it. Nope, just thought you might find some of the names and numbers interesting.

Excluding government and tribal entities, approximately two to three percent of Montana's land is owned by 10 individuals, families or companies. There is always going to be an ebb and flow to statistics like these, but the figures shared by Montana Grant of the Montana Outdoor Radio show and montanaoutdoor.com are recent enough to give us a pretty accurate estimate.

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There are of course feather-ruffling out-of-staters with no Montana connections who represent a sizeable portion of that acreage. But, there are also some definite Montana ties among those owners as well.

So, who owns what where?

PLUM CREEK TIMBER (ABSORBED BY WEYERHAUSER): Holdings of 765,925 acres mainly in northwest Montana.

FARRIS AND DAN WILKS: Texas-based petroleum firm (Wilks Brothers), 358,837 acres in central Montana.

THE GALT FAMILY: 248,023 acres, property inherited from Louise Rankin in central Montana, Galt Ranch.

STAN AND ANN (WALTON) KROENKE: Owners of numerous professional sports teams, 225,162 acres.

ROBERT EARL HOLDING COMPANY: Utah-based/Sinclair Oil, 213,462 acres. .

THE COFFEE FAMILY: Stockman Bank, Montana, 212,633 acres.

GREAT NORTHERN ROCKIES: 153,056 acres, natural resource investment company, southeast Montana.

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER--DAT SAINTS: 151,840 acres, Livingston, Miles City and Harlowton areas.

TED TURNER: Media mogul, 151,840 acres, Flying D Ranch, Gallatin County and beyond.

JOHN HILLENBRAND: Strategy/portfolio management companies, 118,417 acres, Jordan area.

Total: 2,597,225 acres. Again, 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.

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