With holdings of two million acres in 11 states, Ted Turner, the media entrepreneur and philanthropist, has become the largest private landowner in the country, and his land purchases have some in Nebraska, where he owns a ranch, wondering what he is up to, reports the Associated Press.
While supporters of Mr. Turner say he just wants to be a rancher, others accuse him of trying to corner the land over the world’s largest underground water system, and of conspiring with the United Nations — to which he has donated millions of dollars through a nonprofit group he created — to build a huge federal wildlife refuge that would remove the land from Nebraska’s tax rolls.
But Mr. Turner’s spokesmen say the driving force behind his land purchases is the desire to make money. Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico, for example, offers weeklong elk hunting excursions for $12,000.
The wire service said Mr. Turner declined to be interviewed, accepting only written questions answered by a spokesman, Phillip Evans.
“Our agenda is not to create a vast wildlife preserve,” said Mr. Evans, vice president of Turner Enterprises, in an e-mail message. However, Mr. Turner is concerned about preserving animal habitat while ranching, he said. “We think we can do both.”
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