Our desire to explore won out. After a morning in the campground we headed out. This afternoon Docent Lisa greeted us in the living room of the Mardy & Olaus Murie House, part of The Murie Ranch, an enclave within Grand Teton National Park. Although we had not been familiar with the work of the Muries until today, we are incredibly impressed with the impact that these naturalists had on the wilderness preservation movement in the United States. After an impressive career studying the caribou and elk populations in Alaska and Wyoming, Olaus became convinced that preserving large swaths of wilderness was the only hope for the survival of these animals. His brother Aldoph did ground breaking research in the role of the grizzly and the wolf in the ecology of the wilderness. Both men impacted the wildlife management policies of the National Park Service. Mardy who grew up and met Olaus in Alaska worked by his side in the field. Docent Dan writes of their lifelong passion for the wilderness and for each other. Together the two spent their retirement years working with others to lobby Congress to protect our country’s wilderness lands. On their ranch they hosted the contemporary leaders in wilderness preservation and it was on their front porch that the first draft of The Wilderness Act of 1964 was written. After Olaus died in 1963, Mardy dedicated her life to promoting the protection of wilderness lands and was extremely instrumental in passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act by Congress in 1980. At the end of our visit Lisa played for us conservationist and songwriter John Denver‘s A Song for All Lovers, a waltz he wrote for his friend Mardy honoring the love she shared with Olaus. We come away today so much richer for the opportunity know how much we as a nation owe to this visionary family.

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