|People Overview||Historical Figures||National Park Service||People Behind
|Park Visitors||Artists and Writers||Contemporary Commentators|
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Juan Lujan, CCC veteran
Juan Lujan grew up in the tiny town of Redford, Texas, along the Rio Grande. He enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps and worked at what would become Big Bend National Park and then in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he could attend New Mexico State University. He served in the Army Air Force in Europe during World War II and finished college under the GI Bill, ultimately earning a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and a doctorate.
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Adolph Murie, Igloo Canyon, Mt. McKinley (later Denali) National Park, circa 1920s
After visiting Mount McKinley National Park in Alaska as a 22-year-old college student, Adolph Murie was inspired to pursue his doctoral degree in biology. He became an important voice in preserving wild nature in national parks. He conducted a number of wildlife studies for the Park Service in a range of parks, the most significant being his landmark observations of wolves in their natural habitat at Mount McKinley. His conclusions that wolves were not a scourge on the landscape – and his call for wolves to be protected, not exterminated – made him unpopular, even within the Park Service itself. But he persevered, and eventually many of his proposals were adopted.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Murie objected to plans for building a paved highway into the heart of Mount McKinley National Park, and for a hotel and gas station near Wonder Lake. He won a partial victory when the Park Service ended the paving after the first 13 miles and abandoned the plans for the hotel and other construction.
Murie's half-brother Olaus, also a biologist, was an important figure in American conservation, serving as a director of the Wilderness Society and playing an instrumental role in the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the passage of the Wilderness Act. Olaus' wife, Mardy, was his full partner in the conservation efforts and carried on after his death. She played a key role in the fight for creation of the Alaska parks in the late 1970s and was eventually awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.
The Murie Center in Grand Teton National Park, created from a ranch given to the park by the families of the Murie brothers, continues their conservation work. On August 16, 2004, the Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali National Park was officially opened and dedicated to Adolph Murie, in honor of his work to enlarge and protect national parks and their wildlife populations.
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Claude Tyler, CCC veteran
Claude Tyler was the eldest of eight children in a desperately poor farm family from Blossom, Texas. At age 16, he was dispatched to Death Valley National Monument as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was then sent to Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California, a peak more than 10,000 feet above sea level.
After his time at Lassen, Tyler returned to Blossom, where he attended high school for a year. His parents were still struggling financially, however, so he rejoined the CCC and was sent to Arizona, Oregon, and finally Wyoming, where he built log cabins near the east entrance to Yellowstone.
Tyler spent $5 of his monthly salary on Baby Ruth candy bars and RC Colas; the remaining $25 was sent back to Texas to help his family survive the Depression.
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Discover the "hidden" stories of the national parks that explore the role of minorities in the creation and protection of the parks.