The Land Report

Spring 2015

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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68 The LandReport | S P R I N G 2 0 1 5 LANDREPORT.COM By comparison, Katharine grew up on a legendary landmark. She knows it now, but she didn't realize it then. "I think I was a little bit provincial as a child. I had very sophisti- cated parents. We were not provincial in the sense that we didn't see the world. We certainly did. I think I was provincial in my attitude of how things were being done and taken care of. I lived in this incredible situa- tion in South Texas where it's, as they call it, the last great habitat. The reason it's the last great habitat is because it's privately owned, privately managed, privately funded. I never thought of it that way until I started thinking about these things in policy terms. That forces you to think about not just your situation but everybody's situation," she says. That approach is evident on her husband's ranch. "This ranch doesn't have cattle, but Ben keeps all the waters going. He is so religious about stuff that benefits wildlife. There's no economic return for doing that. He does it because he loves this place, he loves wildlife, and it's the right thing to do." "Imagine if this ranch were a state park or a federal park," Katharine continues. "Imagine what it would cost taxpayers in full-time employees and all that sort of thing. This is a wildlife preserve that is virtually no cost to the taxpayers, and Texans do that all over this damn state." Katharine's latest venture, Taking Care of Texas, is a project devised by her good friend Laura Bush. The two first met on Armstrong in 1977 when Laura's fiancé, George W. Bush, brought his bride-to-be for a polo match. "Katharine and I work together on our new non-profit, Taking Care of Texas," Laura says in a video tribute to her friend that aired the night Katharine was awarded the 2015 T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award by Park Cities Quail in Dallas. "Her dedication to conservation comes from the heart, and her efforts are informed by a lifetime of ranch and hunting experience in South and West Texas. Her work has built a statewide legacy that will benefit Texans for many generations." Although the couple has traveled near and far, they are most at home on their ranches, especially at hunting camp with family and friends. Katharine Armstrong's friendship with Laura Bush dates back to an October 1977 polo match at the Armstrong Ranch that featured her father, Tobin (above left), Prince Charles (above right), Norman Brinker, Will Farish, Steve Gose, Bobby Beveridge, and John and Charles Armstrong.

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