Rhode Island’s Largest Landowner Controls a Ridiculous 70,000 Acres

The state of Rhode Island is really the largest landowner in the state. There are currently about 70,00 acres of land in the state of Rhode Island. Since the state is just 1,214 square miles in size, those acres represent around 10% of the entire state.

Most of this land is in state parks, islands, beaches, wildlife areas, and campgrounds, as you might expect. The majority of it has been made available to the public by the state, making it one of the most accessible states in the nation. There are lots of locations where you can go swimming, camping, or trekking.

This entire area is under the jurisdiction of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. This government agency’s website states that it is responsible for safeguarding the ecosystem of the state. All parks, beaches, and other wildlife areas are under their jurisdiction.

The fact that the state government owns such a substantial amount of property benefits visitors to any of Rhode Island’s state parks.

Who’s the Largest Private Land Owner in Rhode Island?

The government of Rhode Island is by far the greatest landowner, which is hardly shocking. There are plenty of parks and beaches in the state, after all. But who owns the majority of the state’s private land?

That would be 1,700 acres owned by the Brown Family. This family has spent a significant amount of time in Rhode Island. This family’s first immigrant to America was Chad Browne, who came during the colonial era. As one of the original residents of Providence, Rhode Island, the family’s prominence increased.

Because the Brown family was a major backer of the college when it was founded, Brown University bears their name.

Even after hundreds of years, this family is still quite important in Rhode Island. There was a sizable media following when their historic property was listed for sale in 2018. The Brown family had lived on the land, which took up an entire block of Bellevue Avenue, for a while.

This family owns a sizable amount of land, but not quite as much as the state of Rhode Island or the several not-for-profit organisations that also hold land throughout the state.

Other Significant Landowners

Outside of the State of Rhode Island, there are a number of additional significant landowners. That is why they need to own so much land—many of these are not-for-profit organisations whose mission is to safeguard animals.

For example, the Audubon Society of Rhode Island theoretically controls over 9,000 acres, although they actually own only 7,325 acres. This organisation runs a number of open-access public parks.

Many other government organisations are landowners as well. For example, the United States federal government controls slightly more than 5,000 acres in Rhode Island.