After emerging as the new No. 1 in 2021, the EMMERSON FAMILY continues to grow their holdings by acquiring more than 81,000 acres in California and Washington in the past year. The largest purchase was nearly 78,000 acres in Northern California that belonged to the heirs of Thomas Barlow Walker. The Emmersons’ Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) will manage these lands in the same way they do all their forestlands: for high-quality timber, wildfire-resilient forests, wildlife habitat, water, and recreation. As part of this commitment to growing healthy forests, SPI will start building a state-of-the-art conifer seedling nursery in 2023. When fully operational, it will produce 25 million seedlings annually to meet the needs of SPI, along with public and private organizations working to recover and restore California’s forests.
R.H. Emmerson and Son
In 1949, Curly Emmerson invited his son to partner with him on a sawmill in Northern California. Red agreed to throw in with his father, and R.H. Emmerson and Son was born. The two had a no-nonsense business plan: Curly bought the timber, and Red ran the sawmill. In the decades that followed, they flourished. Yet the Emmersons owned very little land during this timeframe. In fact, throughout the 1950s and the 1960s, R.H. Emmerson and Son purchased just two tracts: a 2,500-acre parcel known as the Brunello & Berry in 1958 and a 5,400-acre parcel called the Davis & Brede in 1961.
Sierra Pacific Industries
In 1969, Sierra Pacific Industries was established as a publicly traded company. Five years later, Red Emmerson privatized Sierra Pacific and never looked back. Over the next quarter-century, Red would acquire more than 1 million acres of California timberland, including 525,000 acres in a single $465 million transaction from the Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corporation in 1988. In 2006, the Emmersons branched out of California and made their first acquisition in Washington. They have subsequently expanded their holdings to more than 300,000 acres of timberland in the Evergreen State.
Seneca Jones Timber Company
On October 1, 2021, Sierra Pacific Industries announced the completion of an historic acquisition. Although the 175,000-acre purchase of Oregon’s Seneca Jones Timber from the daughters of Aaron Jones was far from the largest timberland acquisition in SPI history, it was in fact a very big deal. For with it, Red Emmerson and his family became America’s largest landowners.