History of Arches National Park

Humans have occupied the region since the last ice age 10,000 years ago. Fremont people and Ancient Pueblo People lived in the area up until about 700 years ago. Spanish missionaries encountered Ute and Paiute tribes in the area when they first came through in 1775, but the first European-Americans to attempt settlement in the area were the Mormon Elk Mountain Mission in 1855, who soon abandoned the area.

The Arches area was first brought to the attention of the National Park Service by Frank A. Wadleigh, passenger traffic manager of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Wadleigh, accompanied by railroad photographer George L. Beam, visited the area in September 1923 at the invitation of Alexander Ringhoffer, a Hungarian-born prospector living in Salt Valley. Ringhoffer had written to the railroad in an effort to interest them in the tourist potential of a scenic area he had discovered the previous year with his two sons and a son-in-law, which he called the "Devil's Garden" (known today as the "Klondike Bluffs").in April 1929, shortly after his inauguration, President Herbert Hoover signed a presidential proclamation creating Arches National Monument, consisting of two comparatively small, disconnected sections.

Arches became a national park in 1971.American writer Edward Abbey was a park ranger at Arches National Monument where he kept journals that became his book Desert Solitaire. The success of this book, as well as the rise in adventure-based recreation, has drawn many hikers, mountain-bikers, and off-road enthusiasts to the area, but activities are limited within park boundaries: camping, foot hiking (along designated trails), and driving only along marked roads. The Hayduke Trail, an 825-mile (1,328 km) backpacking route named after one of Edward Abbey's characters, begins in the park. Arches National Park was used as one of the filming locations for the 1965 biblical film, The Greatest Story Ever Told. Portions of The Windows section of Arches National Park were used as locations in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Arches National Park is the subject of the third 2014 quarter scheduled as part of the U.S. Mint's America the Beautiful quarters coin program commemorating national parks and historic sites.

Finally, a suggested historic tune to listen to while you're hiking through Arches National Park, especially if you're an oldster like the web designer and like songs more than 50 years old.