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Bud Purdy was so revered in Idaho that even a bunch of Republicans pay tribute to him.
Being a Westerner and the daughter and granddaughter of cattle ranchers, I think it's about time that the non-crazy Western ranchers get some equal national media time. Because they're not all federal government-hating, "wise use," sagebrush rebelling, gun-toting crazies—even in a state like Idaho. One of Idaho's most influential cattle ranchers and conservationists is proof of that. His name was Bud Purdy, and in his 96 years, he became sort of a legend in the state. Unfortunately, he passed away this week, but this remembrance from the Idaho Stateman's Rocky Barker tells the story.
Purdy, 96, led the ranching industry into rest and rotation grazing on public lands that both protected the range and improved cattle production. He duck-hunted and skied with Ernest Hemingway and hosted Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper at his Picabo Ranch.

He helped start the Idaho Cattle Association, led the University of Idaho Foundation as president and was chairman of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. In addition to the ranch, he and his late wife Ruth owned the Picabo Store, the Picabo Elevator and Silver Creek Supply, a seed business. […]

Purdy donated a 3,500-acre conservation easement on all of the ranch along Silver Creek in the 1990s to the Nature Conservancy, adjacent to its own Silver Creek Preserve. Purdy didn’t even take the tax break on the easement valued at $7 million. […]

He loved the cattle business, he explained to writer, producer and author Steve Stuebner in an article in 2012 for the Idaho Rangeland Commission (which he co-founded). "Every morning, you get up and do something different," he said. "You turn out on the range and ride a horse every day. Even now, I go out and make sure the water is OK, check the fences and make sure the gates are closed.

"It's just a constant going out there and doing it," Purdy said. "I was never a cowboy, but I've ridden a million miles."

As one of my good friends here in Idaho wrote on Facebook, "He loved his land so much he owned it and when owning it wasn't enough to preserve it for future generations, he figured out a way to do that."

Cliven Bundy doesn't represent the West. He doesn't represent cattle ranchers. He represents a minority of right-wing cranks who are good at making a lot of noise through threats of violence. He's also nothing more than a common crook.

If you're looking for an emblematic man of the West, it's not Bundy. It's Bud Purdy.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 02:03 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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