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Lifelong Learning

Hall of Honor Inductee

Moorhead High School

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Adolph Murie

Inducted Saturday, October 2, 2010


Adolph Murie graduated from Moorhead High School in 1918. In 1922 he joined his brother, Olaus Murie, in Alaska to study caribou. Murie earned a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, in 1925 and his doctorate in biology from the University of Michigan in 1929.

In 1934, Murie began a 32-year career as a biologist for the Wildlife Division of the National Park Service. In 1937, Murie conducted a study of coyotes in Yellowstone National Park, published as "Ecology of the Coyote in Yellowstone." This book represents one of the first studies published that argued against predator eradication. In 1939, the National Park Service assigned Murie to assess the relationship between the Dall sheep and the wolf in the Mt. McKinley area. The resulting book, "The Wolves of Mt. McKinley," includes Murie’s detailed field observations. These two works led directly to the termination of the predator eradication programs in Yellowstone and Mt. McKinley national parks.

Along with his brother, Olaus, Murie helped to enlarge existing national park boundaries and to create additional new units, notably the Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943. Murie was also instrumental in preserving the biological integrity of Denali National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Murie received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Park Service and in 1963 won the John Burroughs Medal for his book, "A Naturalist in Alaska." He also published numerous articles and wrote letters to Congress regarding wilderness areas threatened by development or predator control programs. Murie is prominently featured in a segment of Ken Burns’ and Dayton Duncan’s film series, "The National Parks: America’s Best Idea." The Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali National Park was dedicated to Murie in 2004.

Adolph married Louise Murie in 1932. They had two children, Jan and Gail. Adolph Murie died on August 16, 1974, at his STS Ranch, now part of the Murie Ranch Historic District in Moose, Wyoming. The ranch was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006, and the house and grounds are now headquarters for the Murie Center.

Gene Boyle, Moorhead High School Hall of Honor committee member, accepts the Hall of Honor plaque on behalf of Adolph Murie's family.
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