HANK SCHMIDT’S MONTHLY REPORT: Arches National Monument, February 1940

NOTE: This edition of Hank Schmidt’s monthly reports is especially difficult to read. The National park Service operated on a shoestring budget in those days and the park managers were encouraged to conserve whenever possible. Here, Hank must have decided to waste as little paper as possible, and chose to write the February 1940 report on the blank backside of a previous document. We’ve used PhotoShop to improve its readability, but you have to give Hank Schmidt credit for being one of the very early recyclers. We’ve provided a transcription …JS

Moab, Utah
February 21st 1940

Mr Hugh Miller, Acting Superintendent
Southwestern National Monuments
Coolidge, Arizona

Dear Hugh:

There are some thoughts that are so apparent to others that they hardly need be expressed, but I do want to say again, at this time, that the high regard in which I held the Southwestern National Monuments has increased immeasurably the past month. I think the entire group is the finest with which a man could ever hope to be associated and I am proud to be a member of the outfit. Hugh, you know better than I, the full extent of cooperation extended to and the deep affection each of us had for The Boss. His influence and inspiration will be far-reaching and lasting. I am sure that I express the resolves of all the men and women in the “Outfit” when I say that you are held in the same high level of esteem and can count on our loyalty and cooperation to the last draw.

Visitors this month, 70; travel year to date, 720.

Hank Schmidt Arches Custodian
Hank Schmidt. Arches National Monument. c/o NPS


The prayers of the stockmen, ranchers, and in fact have had the wettest February in years. The precipitation has been quite versatile: First came snow, then rain, more snow and more rain, with a fair number of balmy days in between. Thirteen days have been partly cloudy, 7 cloudy and 9 clear. Winter is on the way out and this month’s rainfall will materially hasten the growth of vegetation and wild flowers will soon be found in abundance, adding more beauty and color to this already colorful country-side.


The additional rainfall this month has greatly benefitted the sandy stretches of the entrance road. It is well packed and in better than usual condition. The last half mile of the road, however, is in poor shape and will require at least four days of repair work to put it on par with the rest of the road. This work has been started and by spending part of each day on it, I should be able to finish it easily in another five days.

Photo Credit: NPS


There has been a slight increase in travel over the month of January. A total of 70 people visited the monument, 62 of which were credited to the Windows section and 18 visitors, all from Colorado, hiked into Courthouse Towers. Seven states were represented in the visitor total, with Colorado first, and Utah second. Mr. C.J. Halstrom, Fox Film Coporation, Salt Lake City, and Harold J. Creen, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Salt Lake City, and part(y) of six, visited the Windows section on Sunday, February 18th.

Water Survey

A test hole, to determine the possibilities of securing water in the proposed headquarters area, was started on the 16th. At this writing progress has been made to a depth of 102 feet. All samples indicate the hole to be entirely within the Navajo sandstone and the driller is of the opinion that we will find water within another 25 feet. The hole has sloughed a bit and we are casing the hold with 6-inch casing before an attempt is made to deepen the hole.

School of Instruction

The first School of Instruction has been completed and I firmly believe that the time and money expended in this venture will be justified in the progress of the coming year. It was extremely interesting and helpful to me to be able to meet with the other members of the Southwestern National Monuments and to work out with them the problems confronting us in our every-day work. Many of the questions I have debated in my own mind were cleared up, and I am certain my attendance at the school will enable me to serve the public more efficiently and to discharge the duties of custodian in a more commendable manner. I sincerely hope the school may be continued as an annual meeting.

Transfer of Equipment

The 1935 Ford pickup, #USDI 10888, and one 14×16 tent were transferred to Casa Grande National Monument.

The transfer of equipment to Arches includes 2 long-handled shovels, 1 pick-mattox, 1 long bar, various small tools, and 1 circulating heater.


An entrance road has been graded from Highway 160 to the site of the proposed CCC camp. This construction was possible through the cooperation of the Grand County Road Commission, and the efforts of Mr L.L. Taylor, of Moab. The road is approximately 600 yards in length and 18 feet in width. One 18-foot 36-inch CMP was used in making a fill across the wash, and it was through the cooperation of Superintendent Fred Jewekes of Dalton Wells CCC camp that we were able to deliver and place the pipe in the fill. The road will need a graveled top before it can withstand heavy travel, and it is possible this work will be done by the Dalton Wells camp as soon as equipment is available.

CCC camp
CCC Camp. Photo Credit: NPS

Official Inspections

Horace Miller, Associate Engineer, Region III, made an official visit to the monument on February 5th, to complete his data on the approach road. We spent most of the day gathering information and making notes pertinent to the alignment of the road from headquarters area to the sand flat near Courthouse Towers.

Very respectfully submitted,

Henry G. Schmidt,


* NOTE: Thanks to former Arches NP superintendent Paul D. Guraedy, who gave me access in 1988 to the old monthly reports…JS

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1 comment for “HANK SCHMIDT’S MONTHLY REPORT: Arches National Monument, February 1940

  1. Bill Davis
    March 16, 2020 at 9:16 am

    I see Bish popped up in Hank’s report. You know, if I had a time machine. . .

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