|Olaus J. Murie|
Mardy Murie and Olaus at their home, Grand Tetons, 1953
|Born||March 1, 1889
|Died||21 October 1963
|Occupation||author, ecologist, forester, wildlife biologist,|
|Subjects||Ecology, Conservation, Wilderness Preservation|
|Notable work(s)||Elk of North America|
|Notable award(s)||Pugsley Medal, Audubon Medal, Sierra Club John Muir Award|
|Relative(s)||see Murie family article|
Olaus Johan Murie (March 1, 1889 – October 21, 1963), called the "father of modern elk management", was a naturalist, author, and wildlife biologist who did groundbreaking field research on a variety of large northern mammals. He also served as president of The Wilderness Society, The Wildlife Society, and as director of the Izaak Walton League. With his wife, Mardie Murie, he successfully campaigned to enlarge the boundaries of the Olympic National Park, and to create the Jackson Hole National Monument and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Murie was born on March 1, 1889, in Moorhead, Minnesota, the child of Norwegian immigrants. Murie attended North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University) as a biology major. When his zoology professor moved to Pacific University in Oregon, he offered Murie a scholarship to transfer there, where he completed studies in zoology and wildlife biology and was graduated in 1912. He did graduate work at the University of Michigan and was granted an M.S. in 1927. He began his career as an Oregon State conservation officer and participated in scientific explorations of Hudson Bay and Labrador, financed by the Carnegie Museum. He joined the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey (now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) in 1920 as a wildlife biologist, spending the next 6 years in the field with his brother Adolph Murie, studying Alaskan caribou, mapping migratory routes and estimating numbers. He married Margaret Thomas in 1924 in Anvik, Alaska. They spent their honeymoon tracking caribou through the Koyukuk River region.
Books and articles
In 1927, the Biological Survey assigned Murie to research the Jackson Hole elk herd, resulting in the classic publication The Elk of North America. He also authored six other major publications, including Alaska-Yukon Caribou (North American Fauna [NAF] No. 54, 1935); Food Habits of the Coyote in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (1935); Field Guide to Animal Tracks (1954); Fauna of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska Peninsula (NAF No. 61, 1959); and Jackson Hole with a Naturalist (1963). Wapiti Wilderness (with his wife, Mardy Murie) was published posthumously, in 1966.
Service, research and wildlife organizations
In 1937, Murie accepted a council seat on the recently created Wilderness Society. In this role, Murie lobbied successfully against the construction of large federal dams within Glacier National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Rampart Dam on Alaska’s Yukon River and the Narrows Dam proposed for the mouth of Snake River Canyon.
Murie helped to enlarge existing national park boundaries and to create additional new units. Testimony on the boundaries of Olympic National Park helped to convince President Franklin D. Roosevelt to add the temperate rain forest of the Bogachiel River and Hoh Rain Forest in the Hoh River valley. Lobbying for a natural boundary for the elk of the Grand Teton area, Murie helped to create Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943 (it was upgraded to national park status several years later, then incorporated into the Grand Teton National Park).
In 1956, Murie began a campaign with his wife to protect what is now the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The couple recruited U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas to help persuade President Dwight Eisenhower to set aside 8,000,000 acres (32,000 km2) as the Arctic National Wildlife Range.
In 1948, Murie became the first American Fulbright Scholar in New Zealand and conducted research in the Fiordland National Park. In 1950, Murie became president of the Wilderness Society. He was also a president of the Wildlife Society and a director of the Izaak Walton League. He received the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award Medal in 1952, the Pugsley Medal in 1953, the Audubon Medal in 1959, and the Sierra Club John Muir Award in 1962.
Olaus Murie died on October 21, 1963. The Murie Residence in Moose, Wyoming was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, and as part of the Murie Ranch Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006. The house and grounds are the headquarters for the Murie Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to conservation work.
-  U.S. National Park Service website: ParkWise > Teachers > Culture > Living in Kenai Fjords
-  Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation web site, description of award created in Murie’s honor
-  Pugsley Medal biography of Murie
-  Wilderness Society web site
-  Fulbright New Zealand Quarterly, Volume 10, No. 4, p. 6, November, 2004
-  The Wildlife Society web site, list of winners
-  Pugsley Medal Recipients 1928-1964
-  Murie Center web site
- Journeys to the Far North ISBN 0-910118-30-2
- The Elk of North America ISBN 0-933160-02-X
- Alaska-Yukon Caribou (North American Fauna [NAF] No. 54, 1935) LCCN agr35000394 
- Food Habits of the Coyote in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (1935)
- Field Guide to Animal Tracks (1954) ISBN 0-395-91094-3
- Fauna of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska Peninsula (NAF No. 61, 1959) LCCN 59062296 
- Jackson Hole with a Naturalist (1963);
- Wapiti Wilderness ISBN 0-87081-155-X
- National Leaders of American Conservation Stroud, Richard H., ed. (1984); Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
- The Joys of Solitude and Nature: Naturalist finds fulfillment in Wilderness Life Magazine (1959); 47(26), December 28.
- Living Wilderness (Summer-Fall, 1963)
- The Murie Center
- Pugsley Medal biography
- Park Service biography
- Works by or about Olaus Murie in libraries (WorldCat catalog)