The Land Report

Texas 2018

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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20 The LandReport | T E X A S 2 0 1 8 LANDREPORT.COM R eflecting back on my career, one of my keys to success has been an ability to accept and embrace change. at has been especially true in the fourth quarter of my life. Several years ago, my longtime personal doctor said he had good news and bad news for me. "Shoot straight," I told him. "Well, the good news is you're going to live to be 110. e bad news is you won't be able to hear or see in three years," he said. "Hell, I'm already there," I countered. Slowly but inevitably, my fading vision and limited hearing have forced me to give up things I've loved and excelled at — golf and hunting, in particular. Although the beauty of Mesa Vista remains intact, the ranch roads I have driven thousands of times are now blurred. Can I hear a flock of turkeys noisily roosting in one of the cottonwoods by the Lodge? Of course I can. But can I pick out a single gobbler? Probably not. It's time to embrace and accept that my life has changed. My hopes for the Mesa Vista and my plans for its future remain as vivid as they were when I began assembling the ranch 46 years ago. I initiated a multi-decade program to help the land heal and, over time, invested millions of dollars on wildlife management programs and facilities to create what many believe is the best quail hunting in the world. My good friend Ray Sasser, the outdoor writer for the Dallas Morning News, called the Mesa Vista "the finest quail- hunting spot in the known universe." We have minimal cattle grazing on the ranch, preferring instead to let the land revert to pristine prairie conditions much as it had been in centuries past. And the Mesa Vista is water rich in ways I am hard-pressed to convey. Roberts County sits over the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest groundwater reservoir in the US and one of the largest in the world. The Ogallala spans eight Great Plains states and covers some 174,000 square miles. This reservoir is estimated to contain over three billion acre-feet of water, and it stretches from south of the ranch near Midland clear up to South Dakota. That's enough water to cover all 50 states 18 inches deep. It shouldn't surprise you to learn that my ranch is the only place I've ever drilled that I had never had a dry hole. We hit water every time. Thanks to this God-given gift, the Mesa Vista is blessed with miles of creeks, acres of wetlands, and nearly 20 lakes of varying size. In addition, the ranch's water rights total approximately 42,000 acres. That means the next owners of the Mesa Vista will be able to utilize 42,000 acre-feet of water per year as they see fit. And that includes selling it on the open market. Ray Sasser at the Dallas Morning News calls the Mesa Vista "the finest quail-hunting spot in the known universe." Pickens and his good friend Ted Turner have both graced the cover of the Magazine of the American Landowner on two occasions. WYMAN MEINZER

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