The largest landowners in the U.S. each have their own unique back-story when it comes to the roadblocks, deals and failures they went through in order to achieve success. When it comes to the Pingree family, however – the 8th largest landowners in the U.S. – their story is a generational journey that began when the State of Maine was just coming into being.
It was in 1841, when a wealthy shipping magnate by the name of David Pingree (nicknamed the Merchant Prince of Salem), glimpsed the future and saw that the shipping needs of the U.S. were quickly becoming a thing of the past. He turned his wise eye on acquiring land; land that promised huge financial success.
Maine was just being released from Massachusetts at the time; land was being divided into six-mile square townships and sold at auction to the highest bidder. David Pingree knew that the dense, heavily forested land would be needed in order to expand business and industry in the U.S.; therefore, seeing the huge advantages, he began accumulating the land and establishing a dynasty. Seven generations later, the Pingree heirs now own approximately 830,000 acres of Maine.
It was around the beginning of the twentieth century when many of the traditional family land owners began to sell out to the corporations who wanted to utilize the land to supply lumber and paper mills. But instead of selling, the Pingree family kept ownership, making the right decision to become partners with the corporations instead.
The Pingree family always maintained a conservative approach when it came to forest management, which eventually did not jive with the corporations’ objective to cut the timberland in order for them to grow more successful. Utilizing the wiles that David Pingree certainly owned in spades when it came to business, the Pingree heirs proved that the dynasty would go on by forming Seven Islands Land Company in 1964.
Financial appreciation is still one of the benefits that any investor looks to earn when it comes to buying up land. But the Pingree family went one step further; they put themselves at the forefront of land management and restoration long before the rest of the world was even thinking about the destruction of rain forests, or the loss of habitats for endangered species because of timberland cutting.
Now synonymous with managing the forests of Maine ‘naturally,’ the Pingree heirs make all land management decisions by focusing on whether or not the land will thrive from what they’re doing. Timber quality and ecosystem integrity are musts for Seven Islands Land Company, assuring the population that their forest management practices are environmentally sound.
It was in 2001 that the Pingree Family put under easement 762,000 acres of land with the New England Forestry Association; this easement prevented any further development in order to maintain the healthy habitats.
With the ups and downs that came with each generation – from the era of the Merchant Prince of Salem all the way to the modern-day ‘green’ movement – one thing has certainly remained the same: The Pingree dynasty is one of the most interesting back-stories a landowner could possibly have.
Source: Land Report / Baret News Wire