Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has purchased a 940-acre ranch along the Big Hole River.
Keith Urbahn, a spokesman for Rumsfeld, said Rumsfeld and his wife, Joyce, intend to keep the property largely as is.
"Mrs. Rumsfeld was born in Montana, she has relatives in the state and the Rumsfelds have always thought very well of the state," Urbahn said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. "They plan to spend some time out there to enjoy it."
The property in Madison County on Burma Road south of Twin Bridges includes hayfields, wetlands and frontage on the Big Hole River.
The property is listed as owned by JD Ranch, LLC. Its address is listed in a Chicago high rise office building that is the home to the Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld Foundation.
Rumsfeld, 77, has had a long career of government service, as well as serving four terms in Congress. He served as defense secretary during the Ford Administration, as well working in numerous high level positions before entering the private sector.
He returned to head up the Defense Department for the first six years of the George W. Bush administration, making him the youngest and oldest defense secretary in U.S. history. He resigned at the request of Bush after the 2006 midterm election. Since then, Rumsfeld has stayed largely out of public life and focused on starting his foundation, which grants scholarships to students interested in public service.
Urbahn said the Rumsfelds have no plans to develop the property. He said as a sportsman, Donald Rumsfeld will enjoy the land.
"He enjoys outdoor sports and I'm sure they'll get out there on the river from time to time and fish it," he said.
Pat Shannon, who lives on 110 acres next to the Rumsfeld property, said she hasn't yet met the Rumsfelds but knew about the sale. She manages her land as a wetlands and wildlife sanctuary and said she hasn't seen a change in the property that the Rumsfelds bought.
And Shannon, who is openly liberal in her views, said she gets along with her conservative neighbors now and expects to with the Rumsfelds.
"We represent a good cross section of the United States there are just lots of different political views here and we all pretty much get along," she said. "You're neighbors and you're quite a ways away from everybody.
"If you can't get along in the Big Hole, you probably can't get along anywhere."