Synchronize with the table of contents  INTRODUCTION



Harry Crandell donated his papers to the Denver Public Library in 1987.


The collection is open for research.


Harry B. Crandell Papers are the physical property of the Denver Public Library.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


[Identification of item], Harry B. Crandell Papers, CONS86, Conservation Collection, The Denver Public Library


Number of boxes: 33

Oversize: 1 OV folder

Photographs: 1 Photo box




Elizabeth Happy

November 1998


Claudia Jensen

October 2004

Revised October 2009


Ellen Zazzarino


Harry Ben Crandell was born in Ouray, Colorado on July 14, 1924. He attended Colorado College, Western State College, and Colorado State University, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1950. During his school years, he worked seasonal jobs as a predatory animal trapper and range conservationist. Later he joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working in the area of wildlife refuge management in the Western United States.

  • 1955-1959Refuge Manager, Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Laramie, Wyoming. Evaluated areas in Wyoming, and Colorado, as potential wildlife refuges.
  • 1959-1964Wildlife Biologist, Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Located and evaluated new refuges, and promoted public relations through meetings and hearings.
  • 1964-1970Planning Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C. Principal duties included the development of long-range programs and objectives, and directing recreational, interpretive wildlife programs throughout the Wildlife Refuge System. These activities brought him into contact with many conservation organizations and legislators as he presented and defended his proposals through the legislative and appropriations process.
  • 1970-July 1975Director of Wilderness Reviews, The Wilderness Society. This position required Crandell to testify before congressional committees on matters of wilderness establishment, public land management, and energy. He also coordinated the Society's involvement in issues relating to Alaska, including public lands, energy proposals, and programs with Native Alaskan groups.
  • August 1975-1980Consultant to the Subcommittee on Public Lands, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives
  • 1980-1985Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Public Lands and National Parks, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives

Harry Crandell retired from his work with the U.S. House of Representatives in 1985. He died on September 29, 1998 in Arlington, Virginia.


The material in this collection relates to Crandell’s career with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wilderness Society, and the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Crandell’s files for the Fish and Wildlife Service include his work with the National Wildlife Refuge System. Prominent among this material is the debate over the transfer of jurisdiction of three Wildlife Refuge areas; the Charles Sheldon Antelope Range, the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Range, and the Kofa Game Range. The Secretary of the Interior, Rogers Morton, attempted to remove these areas from joint oversight by the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management, and to place them solely within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, setting off a storm of protest from conservationists.

Crandell's work with the Wilderness Society and for the Subcommittee on Public Lands placed him at the heart of the legislative process for two bills that profoundly affected Alaska's wilderness. The first, passed in December of 1971, was the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which not only settled the land claims of Native Alaskans, but also required the set-aside, or withdrawal, of large areas (the d-2 lands) to be studied and recommended to Congress for inclusion in one of four national systems. The National Parks System, Wilderness areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and the Wildlife Refuge System comprise the four systems. The second piece of legislation was the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1979, which attempted to resolve the status of the d-2 lands following congress's failure to act within the time required by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

The following outline details the relationship between these two major pieces of legislation and their role in determining the status of Alaska's wilderness areas.

Background: The legislation granting Alaska statehood in 1959 put into place provisions for dividing the lands between the state and the federal government. The state was granted the right to select 104 million acres of land; the rest remained under federal control. As Alaska began the selection process, conflicts arose between the state and the Native communities, especially over lands traditionally used for subsistence living. Alaska's Natives claimed that without a treaty, or an act of Congress extinguishing their rights, the state should not be allowed to continue selecting lands. The Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, agreed, and the state land selections were frozen:

  • 1959Alaska gains statehood and is granted the right to select 104 million acres of land for its economic base. Native Alaskans make claims against the state to protect their traditional lands.
  • 1966Secretary Udall declares a freeze on state land selections until the Native claims are settled.
  • 1968Oil discovered at Prudhoe Bay. Udall's land freeze prevents the state from developing these areas, giving impetus to settle the Native claims.
  • December 18, 1971Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Public law 92-203 passed by Congress creating twelve Native-owned regional corporations; granting 962 million dollars in settlement of the aboriginal claims to land in Alaska; authorizing the Native corporations to select 44 million acres in Alaska for their own economic base; requiring the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw 80 million acres from development until Congress determined their status as National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, Wild and Scenic Rivers, or Wilderness areas. These designations were to be made by Congress before December 15, 1978. Required under Section 17 (d) (2), these national interest lands became known as the withdrawn, or d-2, lands. If Congress failed to act by the deadline, these lands would be reopened to development.
  • 1977The first Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (HR 39), to determine the status of the withdrawn d-2 lands, is introduced in the House of Representatives.
  • 1977From April through September, hearings were held in major cities in the lower 48 states and in Alaska, receiving testimony from more than 2,300 people.
  • October 1977Congressional staff members revise the HR 39 bill to reflect concerns raised during the hearings, as well as recommendations made by the Department of the Interior.
  • January 1978Mark-up of HR 39 begins.
  • February 7, 1978HR 39 reported to the full committee.
  • October 1978The committee reports a bill that has much weaker protection of wilderness areas than the original. This bill is unacceptable to the Carter Administration, supporters of HR 39, and conservationists.
  • October 1978An ad hoc committee attempts to work out an acceptable compromise; however, Senator Gravel, of Alaska, kills the bill and defeats a provision to extend the d-2 protection for another year.
  • November 14, 1978State of Alaska filed for selection of forty-one million acres of land within proposed conservation/wildlife areas.
  • November 16, 1978Secretary of the Interior Andrus withdrew 110 million acres of land under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, in effect extending their protected status.
  • December 1, 1978President Carter used the Antiquities Act to designate seventeen national monuments, totaling 56 million acres.
  • 1979Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1979 introduced. This bill carried many changes from the previous version of HR 39, expanding wilderness and conservation issues and deleting many of the political compromises.
    Representative Lamar Gudger offers a substitute.
    Representation Jerry Huckaby offers a second substitute (HR 2199) weakening the protection of wilderness and conservation lands.
    Morris Udall and John Anderson introduced a bipartisan compromise bill, HR 3651. The House passes the Udall-Anderson bill by a vote of 360-65.
  • February 11, 1980Secretary Andrus acts to permanently withdraw 40 million acres that had been temporarily protected.
  • July 21, 1980The Senate takes up several Alaska national interest bills.
  • August 19, 1980The Senate passes the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, which includes less wilderness areas and protection than the House version.
  • November 12, 1980After the fall elections made it clear that the new administration would not be supportive of stronger wilderness and conservation legislation, Morris Udall asked the House of Representatives to give its approval to the Senate version of the bill.
  • December 2, 1980President Carter signed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act into law, protecting over 100 million acres of federal lands in Alaska.

Of note in the Crandell collection is the compilation and listing of excerpts from the Congressional Record dealing with wilderness. "This compilation ... contains copies of all available speeches and debates related to wilderness matters which have been addressed by the Congress [from 1953 to 1985]. Occasionally, a non-wilderness item has been included in order to provide a reference on a related matter, or to indicate other conservation subjects in which the Congress was occupied at the time which may have had an influence on wilderness legislation." (Volumne (sic) 1)

Two other compilations of historical materials are included in the collection: Executive and department communications and reports dealing with wilderness, from March 1967 to February 1984; and wilderness related presidential speeches and messages, from Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Regan. All three collections contain a table of contents, copies of which have been brought together at the beginning of each set of records.


The Western History/Genealogy Department has additional manuscript collections on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, including:

John F. Seiberling Papers


Morris K. Udall Papers


Robert Belous Papers


Larry Means Papers


The Wilderness Society Records, Alaska Series CONS130


This series relates primarily to the management of the National Wildlife Refuge System and to legislation designating wilderness areas in the lower 48 states. It is derived from Crandell's work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wilderness Society, and the Subcommittee on Public Lands. Copies of all official refuge proclamations from 1905 to 1937 are included. A portion of the material documents the attempt by Secretary of the Interior Morton to transfer jurisdiction for three wildlife refuge areas from joint control of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management, to sole control by the Bureau of Land Management. Additional material provides information on the wilderness legislation for sites within the continental United States. The series contains correspondence, staff minutes, policy statements, reference materials, and newspaper clippings


The subject of this series is Alaska's lands. It encompasses two major pieces of legislation; the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). These two laws were enacted to deal with the conflicting interests of the State of Alaska, its native people, and the federal government as designator of wilderness. It includes correspondence, draft and final legislation, newspaper clippings, excerpts from the Congressional Record, and reference material.


Material related to the use and development of public lands has been brought together in this series. It comprises memos from 1979 to 1984 and excerpts from the Congressional Record from 1954 to 1985. A large number of documents were copied and brought together in three sub series. The first, titled Legislative History, includes memos, newspaper clippings, and correspondence organized by date from 1977 to 1983. The second contains all Executive Orders dealing with National Bird Reservation from 1903 to 1934. The third includes Presidential statements about wilderness conservation or natural resources from Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan (1902 to 1984). Contents lists for each of these groups precede them.


This small series contains materials from Crandell's personal files. It includes clippings about colleagues, reports written by Crandell early in his career, a resume and biographical sketch, Civil Service documents, and some post-retirement correspondence. Photographs (copies) of Crandell form part of this series.


This series contains maps mainly of Alaska. Many have been hand marked to indicate areas affected by the d-2 legislation. One of the maps, commemorating the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, carries President Carter's signature.


This small series includes pictures of Crandell, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Area, wildlife, and wilderness area.



  • Crandell, Harry B. (Harry Ben), 1924-1988 -- Archives.
  • Seiberling, John F.
  • Udall, Morris K.
  • United States. Congress. House. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Subcommittee on Public Lands and National Parks.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Wilderness Society (U.S.)
  • Alaska Coalition.
  • United States. Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
  • United States. Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
  • National Wildlife Refuge System (U.S.)
  • Alaska.