HANK SCHMIDT’S MONTHLY REPORT: Arches National Monument, February 1941

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

February 17, 1941

Dear Hugh:

This part of the country has at last been favored with a little sunshine and the past three weeks of heavy fog have left us with a greater appreciation of the Moab sunshine. It seems that every time I boast a little in the report about our fine climate the weather man does all he can to make me out a prevaricator. We are about to pack our extras and start for Coolidge so you will probably have heard all there is in this report before you ever get a chance to read it.

Our house has been, literally, “sold from under us”. Moab is to have a new modern tourist court and the builders elected to pick our present place of residence as the most likely location in town. We are glad to see this much needed improvement come to Moab but are having a hard time finding a place to live.

By Henry G. Schmidt, custodian

Moab, Utah

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


Travel this month, 44

Travel to date, 704


Every time I brag a bit about the climate or the fine weather we usually enjoy in this section of the country, we get a good dose of the kind of murk we don’t care to advertise. The past month was dull and very damp, with 90% fob, 5% rain, 4% snow, and 1% sunshine. The only unpleasant elements lacking were high winds and dust storms. The weather man blames our plight on a pocket of stagnant air that is present in this region but predicts that the recent warm spell with precipitate this air pocket and bring us our usual weather next month. He may be correct because part of the precipitation is taking place right now.


We still have a series of ruts, several feet wide and inches deep, 10 miles long, leading to the Windows section. The last two miles don’t count because they are covered with snow to a depth of nine inches and impassable without chains. It has been necessary to close this road to all travel for the last twelve days. There is no use heaping coals of fire on the Service and that is just what would happen if we allowed visitors to attempt to navigate our mud holes and snow banks. If we are favored with a week of sunshine and no precipitations of any kind, it will be possible to work the road into fair shape in a short time. The State Highway Department has promised to blade the first (and muddiest) five miles as soon as conditions permit. The CCC maintenance crew will take care of the last five miles.

The road down Salt Valley is impassable and will remain so until we have had a long dry spell to evaporate all moisture that is now held in the adobe clay flats.

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


The Courthouse Towers section of the monument resounded to the “oh”s and “ah”s of more visitors this month than did the Windows section. The few hardy visitors that did brave the rigors of our fog and sleet were much dismayed to find they could not enter the Windows section, but were appeased after hiking through the Courthouse Towers. A total of 30 visitors made the hike through the Towers and only 14 successfully navigated the road to the Windows section. This is a record for Courthouse Towers.

Park Service visitors include Horace Miller, Fruita, Colorado; Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Boyland, Mr. and Mrs. Art Gilmore, and Tom Williams, of Mesa Verde National Park.

CCC camp
Arches CCC Camp. Photo Credit: NPS

Project Progress for the Month

Weather conditions made maintenance of the Windows section road impracticable and any attempt to work under the prevailing conditions would have been a waste of time and money.

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

The testing of the headquarters well was completed and report made to the Superintendent. This work was carried on through the cooperation of the Grazing Service and it is probable that they will complete the cleaning out of the well within the next two months. They have agreed to do this work for us and, also, offered to rig our well with the necessary tubing if we can have it on the job at the time they clean out the well.

Routine patrols were made through the Windows section and the Courthouse Towers. No patrols were made in the other three sections.

The custodian cooperated with the Associate Regional Engineer and the survey party in making the preliminary road reconnaissance between Courthouse Wash and the Balanced Rock.

Projects for the Ensuing Month

Maintenance of the Windows section road, with particular attention to correcting drainage faults near the Courthouse Wash crossing.

Assistance to the survey party now working on the preliminary survey to the Windows section.

Custodian Conference

The custodian, HCWP and small daughter, were very happy to be able to attend the Custodians Conference at headquarters on February 19, 20 and 21.

The meeting was packed with interesting discussion from start to finish, and the exchange of ideas of all personnel present will, I believe, prove of great value to all of us.

Respectfully submitted,

Henry G. Schmidt,


Moab Main Street Postcard


* 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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