Herb and Lois' story, condensed



The condensed story of Herb and Lois Crisler.

Herb Crisler, a native of Georgia, took up residency on the Olympic Peninsula in 1919 after serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps Spruce Production Division at Pysht, on the peninsula's north coast. During his first years on the peninsula he opened a photo finishing studio and produced postcards of wildlife scenes he photographed in the Olympics. In addition, he engaged in building construction during the cloudy wet months of the year. During the early and mid 1920s, Crisler hiked extensively in the interior Olympics and built cabins and hunting shelters at strategic places in the mountains. After leaving the peninsula briefly in the late 1920s to pursue an unsuccessful career in the commercial airplane business in Seattle, Crisler returned to make his widely publicized cross-Olympic trek without food or hunting weapons. In 1934, Herb Crisler, determined to make a career in wildlife photography, resumed making summer hiking expeditions into the Olympics. In conjunction with his filming exploits, Crisler erected a series of backcountry shelters and caches for storing supplies. After Crisler's marriage to Lois Brown, a University of Washington English teacher, Lois and Herb together hiked and filmed Olympic wildlife. Between 1941 and 1951, Humes Ranch on the Elwha River served as their winter headquarters. One winter, the winter of 1942-43, the Crislers acted as Aircraft Warning Service observers at a lockout on Hurricane Ridge. After this experience in the snow, the Crislers made regular winter ski trips to the high Olympics. During the 1940's, Herb and Lois produced many long and short films depicting the wilderness of the Olympics. Beginning in 1948 the Crislers began traveling nationwide to lecture and show their wildlife films. From 1949 to 1951 Lois Crisler wrote weekly columns for the Port Angeles Evening News in which she described wilderness life in the Olympics. In 1949 Walt Disney agreed to purchase the Crislers' elk film footage to show on his nationally televised program, the "True-Life Adventure" series. The film was released in 1952. For several years following, the Crislers contracted with Disney Studios to film bighorn sheep in Colorado, grizzly bears in Mount McKinley National Park, and wolves and caribou in the Brooks Range.

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