Olaus Murie

(March 1, 1889 – October 21, 1963)

Olaus Murie was born in 1889 in Moorhead, Minnesota. After attending Pacific University in Oregon, Olaus accepted a position with the United States Biological Survey in 1920. He became a pioneering Arctic field researcher in the Brooks Range of Alaska. In 1927, he moved with his wife, Mardy, to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to investigate the largest elk herd in North America. After completing this lengthy research project, Olaus accepted a position as the first president of the Wilderness Society in 1945. The same year, Olaus, Mardy, Adolph and Louise bought the Murie Ranch in Moose, Wyoming. In the final years of his life, Olaus worked closely with Mardy to protect the pristine Brooks Range and the Sheenjek River Valley. Their hard work and dedication to this uniquely wild treasure culminated in the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Shortly after his death in 1963, the Wilderness Act was passed. Olaus’ visionary approach to habitat preservation placed him at the forefront of wilderness conservation in America. For his lifelong service to wilderness protection, Olaus received numerous awards including the Audubon Award, the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award, the Wildlife Society’s Aldo Leopold Memorial Award for outstanding publication, and a Fulbright Fellowship. He is the author of the Peterson Field Guide to Animal Tracks, Journeys to the Far North and co-author of Wapiti Wilderness.