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

Arches National Monument. c/o NPS
Arches National Monument. c/o NPS

August 21st, 1941
Mr Hugh M Miller, Superintendent
Southwestern National Monuments
Coolidge, Arizona

Dear Hugh:

It’s about that time of the month again to compile my notes into the regular monthly report and I think I will try to catch time for a short breathing spell along with it. As the CC boys say: “Jus’ catchin’ five (minutes), Cap’n”.

There is a lot of satisfaction in seeing the beginning of development activity at the Monument. The camp is about 98% completed and most of the boys can soon be released on our project jobs. You will note that a crew has already been working on maintenance of the existing road and from the progress they have made to date I am sure that in a very short time we will have many of the bad spots smoothed out.

The travel increase, in comparison to preceding months, is also gratifying and you will note that a majority of the travel continues to come from states at some distance from Utah. I can readily see the pressing need of a seasonal ranger within the next year and I am now working on a justification statement for this particular budgetary increase.

By Henry G. Schmidt, custodian
Moab, Utah

CCC crew at Arches National Monument. c/o NPS
CCC crew at Arches National Monument. c/o NPS


Visitors this month, 297

Travel year to date, 2365


The month of August from a continuation of the hottest, driest summer recorded in this section of Utah in the past 40 years. Only 2 very light rains fell in scattered areas this month, leaving the vast range lands of this section in dire need of moisture and the Colorado River at the lowest stage in many years. A majority of the days were partly cloudy and several times threatening skies have given hope of rain but high winds always appeared to blow the rain clouds into the nearby mountain areas of Colorado.

CCC camp
CCC Camp. c/o NPS


The road into the Windows Section has been seriously affected by the wind and dry spell, and during the first part of the month there were times when the portion of the road through the sand flats near Willow Springs was impassable. Several cars were towed through the worst sand pockets, and three different parties, arriving at the monument after I had made the usual patrol and returned to Moab in the evening, stalled their cars in these sand pockets and were forced to remain until I discovered their plight the next morning and towed them out of the sand.

Since the approval of a CCC project on maintenance of the existing road, however, I have supervised a crew of 13 men improving the worst sections of the road. One 36”18-foot CMP was placed in the worst dip and both approaches shaled to make a level grade across the small wash. Material improvement has been made by spreading approximately 50 yards of shale in the sand pockets and rougher sections of the road. The maintenance crew is doing a splendid job and I am certain that next month a more favorable report can be made on the road conditions.

The upper end of the Salt Valley road to the Devil’s Garden and Delicate Arch sections, is rough and dusty [but] passable.


Travel to the monument has increased over the corresponding month of 1939 and over the preceding month, in spite of the unfavorable weather and road conditions. A total of 271 visitors hiked through the Windows section and 26 of the more adventuresome travelers made the trip to the Devil’s Garden, making a total travel count of 297 people.

A tabulation of visitors by States shows that 29 states, Patagonia and Alaska were represented. California visitors numbered 74, Utah 42, New York 22, New Jersey 21, and Colorado 21.

Thirty-two guided trips were conducted through the various sections of the Monument, with an attendance of 153 people, and 16 parties, totaling 54 people, were contacted on the Windows section road, making a total contact count of 207 people and a total of 2,640 contact minutes.

Newsworthy visitors included Miss Marie Wormington, Curator, Denver Museum of Natural History, and a party of 6 archaeology students; E.R. Smith, Museum of Anthropology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City; J. Leroy Kay, Professor at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Dr. Edwin V. Van Amringe, Dean of Geology Department, Pasadena Junior College, Pasadena, California, and 22 students from various California universities and colleges.

Park Service visitors included Hugh M. Miller, Natt Dodge, Luis Gastellum, J.H. And Polly Tovrea and Parke Soule of headquarters; C.A. Richey, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Horace Miller, Fruita, Colorado; Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Boyland, Mr. and Mrs. Art Gilmore and Thomas J. Williams of Mesa Verde National Park.

CCC workers at Arches. c/o NPS
CCC workers at Arches. c/o NPS

Projects completed during Month

One bronze marker was placed in the Windows Section. More urgent problems demanded attention this month, making any concentrated effort on this project impossible.

Four of the new signs were mounted ready for placement as soon as the most advantageous locations can be determined after the road maintenance and repairs have progressed a little further.

A new project, the maintenance of the Windows Section road, with the help of a crew from the new CCC Camp, is showing a good deal of progress. There has been a great need for this type of work for some time and I believe we can do a good job toward making the existing road more passable and a little less the target for disgruntled visitors’ ironic quips which appear in the register book.

Projects for the Ensuing Month

The continuation of the project to locate and set bronze markers at the various windows and arches will receive all possible attention.

The work on the signing of the existing road and road maintenance will be continued.

A 30-foot spruce pole has been brought out of the La Sal National Forest and peeled, ready for placement and use as a flag pole at the Willow Springs Ranger and Contact Station.


Superintendent Hugh M Miller, Naturalist Natt Dodge and CCC Fiscal Clerk Luis Gastellum, made field inspections at the monument and inaugurated the CCC program to be carried on by Camp NP-7U. Mr. Dodge and I spent 4 days in the field in advance preparation of the museum prospectus. A copy of the prospectus has been received and is being reviewed and will be returned to headquarters within the week.

Associate Engineer Tovrea, Associate Engineer Miller, Mr. Welton and I made a short preliminary reconnaissance of the proposed headquarters road and circulation system.

Associate Landscape Architect Richey and I located 2 quarry sites. The sites to be utilized in obtaining materials for building construction to be carried on by the CCC Camp.

Two thousand copies of a new mimeographed information leaflet, describing Arches National Monument and its principal features, were received from headquarters. There has been a constant demand and need for a leaflet of this type and you are assured they were gratefully received by the custodian and will, I believe, be most helpful to and enthusiastically received by the visitors.

Respectfully submitted,

Henry G. Schmidt, Custodian


* 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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