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

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

Dear Hugh:

We have made some progress with the project to post the boundary. The entire West boundary of the monument has been posted and almost a quarter of the East boundary is now posted. This work has given me the opportunity to learn, first hand, just what is really within the boundaries, and I will say that I am now more enthusiastic than ever about the area. I was agreeably surprised to find that the entire region of the Upper Courthouse section is in the Monument. This section is superior to the Park Avenue portion of the Courthouse Towers, and in many ways comparable to the Devil’s Garden. 

However, much to my disappointment, we have discovered that the lower part of the Fiery Furnace is not within the boundaries of the monument. I have taken some pictures of this area and will make a more complete report as soon as they are developed. The marking of the boundaries has consumed much of my time this month and some of my other work has suffered a bit. However, the survey and consequent posting of the boundaries seemed to me most important and a job which has needed attention for a long time, and I feel that the effort and time has been well spent. 

By Henry G. Schmidt, Custodian
Moab, Utah

Hank Schmidt's Monthly Report, Page 1
Moab Main Street Postcard


Visitors this month, 234     Travel year to date, 402.


Old Man Winter has just about decided to settle in this section of the country for the time being. He has flirted with us all month, bringing much colder weather, some rain and a bit of snow with him. The heaviest storm of the month started on the 19th and continued thru the 21st. Rain fell in Moab during this period and snow fell on most of the monument area. A recapitulation of the month shows that 11 days were clear and sunny, 10 partly cloudy and windy and 9 cloudy with either rain, trace of snow or light land fog. This has been rather a cold month for Southeastern Utah and if it continues will cut into the travel count for the following month.

Hank Schmidt's Monthly Report, Page 2


The light rains and snow during the month did but little damage to the Windows Section road, and it is now in the condition I wish it were possible to keep it during the summer months. The rains were just heavy enough to help pack the sandy sections, and were an aid to our maintenance work. The maintenance crew has completed shaling the mile and a half West of the Willow Springs station and this very rough section of the road is now in a condition that I could almost boast about. We will have to keep working it and improving it just enough to take the “grumps” out of the bumps and hope that it can all be improved enough to take care of next summer’s traffic.

The road down Salt Valley to the Devil’s Garden and Delicate Arch sections is passable, but in very poor shape.

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


Travel to the Monument increased slightly over November, 1939. The majority of our visitors are of the hardy variety and don’t seem to mind the desert roads or pre-winter weather. A check of the register sheets shows that 53 people from Utah and 181 out-of-staters visited the monument during this month. Colorado wins individual honors with a count of 86, California is second with 57 and Utah comes in third with 53. The balance of the travel originated in various states in the East and Middle-west.

Seventeen parties, with 64 visitors, were conducted through the Windows Section; 2 parties with 9 people were contacted at the Willow Springs Ranger Station and 2 parties, with 10 people, were conducted on horseback trips through the Devil’s Garden and Courthouse Towers sections.

One talk was given, before 34 members of the local chapter of the literary club. The subject of the talk was “Arches National Monument and the National Park Service.” Total contacts for the month were with 117 persons and 2160 minutes contact time.

Park Service visitors include C.A. Richey and L.A. Gastellum, Coolidge, Arizona; Dr. Ross Maxwell, Geologist, Region III; Horace Miller, Fruita, Colorado; and Walter Widman, F. Mclean and Tom Davis, members of the engineering staff of Region II, are now here and will work with us for the next month or two.

Arches Contact Station. Photo by Harry Reed
Arches Contact Station. Photo by Harry Reed
Hank Schmidt's Monthly Report, page 3
CCC Camp at Arches National Monument. c/o NPS
CCC Camp at Arches National Monument. c/o NPS

Project Progress for the Month

Fifty-three boundary markers were posted on the West and on a small portion of the East boundaries of the monument. This work was carried on through the cooperation of the General Land Office survey party, now working on the boundary survey. They furnished one man and the pack and saddle stock, and we furnished the materials and the custodian to set the posts. It is doubtful if all the posts and markers can be set this fall, as the area not posted is now under a blanket of snow and unless it melts away soon it will be necessary to wait until next Spring to complete this job. 

No work was attempted on the project to place bronze markers at the base of each arch.

Two warning (road) signs were placed at the worst dips on the entrance road.

Routine patrol of all sections of the monument was made.

The cedar posts, used as standards on which to mount the boundary markers, were cut and peeled and transported to Camp NP-7U. This project was carried on with the assistance of the CCC.

One hundred boundary and protection markers were constructed and painted. This work was carried on, also, with the assistance of the CCC.

Correspondence and reports are up to date.

Projects for the Ensuing Month

Continuation of road maintenance of the Windows section road. 

Placement of additional road signs, where needed.

Continuation of the project to post the entire boundary with boundary and protections markers, at ½ mile intervals, weather permitting.

Routine patrols of all sections of the monument, with particular attention to the enforcement of the grazing restrictions. Several flocks of sheep have been moved to the winter range adjacent to the monument and patrol of the areas affected is necessary to impress the herders that the grazing restrictions will be enforced.

Hank Schmidt's Monthly Report, page 4

New Discoveries

On November 11, while guiding a party through the Courthouse Towers and upper Courthouse Towers section, I discovered Arch No. 82. This arch is located approximately halfway between the Windows and Courthouse Towers, in the Great Wall north of Courthouse Wash. The arch is high on the wall of the cliff and is approximately 40 feet wide and 35 feet high.

The Arch-in-the-Making, in the Devil’s Garden section, has been made. The huge block of sandstone that hung in the arch for years has now slipped out, enlarging the arch to about 3 times its former size and the arch now measures approximately 70 feet in height and 125 feet in width. This discovery was made while on a horseback trip through the Devil’s Garden. One of our objectives was the photographing of this unusual arch, and from evidence at the site, we were about 3 to 5 days too late.

Arches Fiery Furnace. 1978. Photo by Jim Stiles
Arches Fiery Furnace. 1978. Photo by Jim Stiles

A small field of petrified trees was discovered in the vicinity of the Fiery Furnace. Most of the trees are badly shattered but one in a particularly fine specimen, approximately 39 inches in diameter and 40 feet in length.

Much to the surprise and disappointment of the custodian, according to the boundary survey, a large portion of the Fiery Furnace is outside the monument. The Fiery Furnace is one of the most interesting individual parts of the area and, unfortunately, the part outside is the most spectacular of that section.

To balance this bit of bad news, however, we are very happy to report that the boundary survey shows, also, that the upper Courthouse Towers area is well within the boundary. The canyons in this section (not to be confused with the Park Avenue portion of Courthouse Towers) are deep and contain many interesting features, including several fine springs and one of the most beautiful hanging gardens I have ever seen.


A new steel desk, ordered in October, arrived during the month and adds a great deal to the convenience and appearance of the “office” of the custodian.

Six bound volumes of Southwestern National Monuments Reports were received from the Western Museums Laboratories at Berkeley, California.

A framed picture of the group, taken at the first School of Instruction last February, and a picture of the Boss, were received, also, from the Western Museum Laboratories.

Dr. Ross Maxwell, on a brief visit to the monument on the 10th, expressed himself as being much impressed by the small part he was able to see at that time, and expects to return in the Spring for a thorough survey and study of the geological features of the area.

Assistant Superintendent Richey and Fiscal Clerk Gastellum were here on an inspection trip, November 22nd and 23rd. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Henry G. Schmidt, Custodian

Hank Schmidt's Montly Report, Page 5


* 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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