There's a piece of land out behind my house that's "owned" by some holding company. One day for grins and giggles, I tried to find out who the real owners are. I gave up a few shell companies in when everything turned to oriental characters instead of English. Apparently, the real owners are somewhere in Asia.
They might own the land, but it's only sorta kinda theirs. My guess is that they plan on sitting on it until wood prices get high enough. Of course, the price of harvesting that wood might be higher than they planned on. Neither me or any of my neighbors are willing to give road access to the woodlot. They'd have come in from the backside, a long ways from the quality wood, and haul everything uphill. It can be done, but it raises the cost.
They own the land, but can't seem to do much with it. On the other hand, every winter I put in snowshoe trails. A couple years ago, I ran into a cross country ski trail that someone put in from the other side. I've hunted on the land. One year I heated my house for several months with the dead and down trees and branches within walking distance.
Someone else owns it, but I use it. No one's going to bother the cross country skier or myself. The Asians don't know what's going on and their's very little they could do about it from far away. Right now, there is some enforcement from local authorities. If I'd bulldoze a road and cut down all their trees, someone would notice. However, the use I make of the land treats it lightly and leaves little evidence. I get to enjoy it, and pay no taxes on it.
I believe you only "own" your land as much as you can control it. Two days ago, I heard someone crashing around on my property and checked out what was going on. It was a guy looking for the neighbor's well, as he was hired to do some work on it. Made sense as the well's close to my property line. I directed him to the well and everything's fine.
Once I ran into a bunch of people at my beach. Since in one of the more isolated beaches on the lake my first thought was that someone decided it was a good picnic spot. They were very apologetic when I showed up. They had outboard motor trouble and the wind blew them onto my beach. The story checked out. I didn't have a problem with that, but word gets around when a person watches their property.
You only own what you can control. Since I've got a fairly small piece of land, it's easy for me to control it. Ted Turner has absolutely huge landholdings, but I'm betting he doesn't control it as much as he thinks he does. Plenty of those acres must be paper ownership only. I'll be he has plenty of naughty little neighbors like me.
27 minutes ago