Canyon de Chelly
Administrative History
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On May 4, 1958, Paul A. Berger began his duties as superintendent at Canyon de Chelly. [1] Informal slide shows and talks were presented to visitors around a "small campfire circle" completed during the previous month. Aiding in these presentations as well as in patrols along the rim roads was Seasonal Ranger Martin A. Link. David Gorman was still the maintenance man, although he was on sick leave during the end of May due to sciatic rheumatism. [2]

A tragic event also occurred in May with the death of John R. Nelson, partner and manager of the Thunderbird Ranch, who had a fatal heart attack. His wife, aided by John Wade, took over his duties. [3] In June, Mrs. Nelson decided to sell the Thunderbird. [4]

An interesting report was filed in May by Franklin Smith, regional museum curator, concerning the museum at de Chelly. He wrote:

The monument collections are small, consisting primarily of specimens of cordage, basketry, and pottery picked up from the archeological sites in the area. Much of this material is without provenience, and might well be culled for exhibit material and then discarded. There are no records on the collections at the monument, but some data is available at Southwest Archeological Center. [5]

In the months of June, July, and August, almost 8,000 visitors were recorded at Canyon de Chelly. [6] Two automobile accidents occurred during this period. One involved a Government vehicle, which hit a tree in an effort to avoid a sheep, and another involved the collision of two privately-owned cars on the canyon floor. [7]

Berger also reported in June that a contract was signed between the Bureau and the Pecos Construction Company to pave the remaining 16 miles of road between Chinle and Ganado Junction. The contract was to extend for about 1 year, and at its completion the 35 miles between the two points would be a paved surface. [8]

Berger was also confronted with a problem relating to a proposed well drilling by the Navajos. Reed Winnie, president of the Chinle Chapter, stated that permission to drill a well and place a windmill in the area known as Peach Orchard—about 2 miles beyond White House Overlook road and approximately one-quarter mile from the rim of the canyon—was granted to the tribe by the original bill establishing the monument. [9] Berger, however, felt that they could not drill a well "within at least one-half mile of the Canyon rim since that is considered the Monument boundary and any development, other than National Park Service development, would not be permitted." [10]

Improvements at the monument included three new fire extinguishers placed at the Thunderbird and two new easel exhibits placed at White House Trail and White House Ruin. Regular patrols also continued and included, besides the rim roads, the Spider Rock picnic grounds and trips up the canyon when possible. [11]

Concerning the proposed selling of the Thunderbird Ranch, Berger reported that there were two parties interested. Mrs. Nelson was asking $150,000 for the Thunderbird, and Berger thought that the price was perhaps too high, because interest was lagging. [12]

The month of August was a busy one. Over 3,600 people in 955 automobiles were counted from 41 states and 10 foreign countries. Work on the road between Chinle and Ganado Junction, which was subcontracted to the Witt-Ross Company, was progressing. Other road work included grading and placing drainage structures from Chinle Junction north to Many Farms and grading and sub-base work on the road south of Chinle Junction to Pinyon Junction. [13]

Park personnel were involved in repairing the tread of the White House Trail, improving the South Rim Road, and inspecting for "Ips" infestation in the pinon trees at de Chelly—of which a few scattered areas were found. A forest fire was reported on August 10 "in the tree cabling area on the Tsaile drainage." [14] Berger, Don Boileau, park ranger, and Don Lyndholm, range management supervisor, Bureau of Indian Affairs, helped in fighting the conflagration, along with approximately 75 other men. The fire did not threaten the park boundary, and by August 13 was under control, having destroyed from 1,200 to 1,500 acres. "All timber burned," wrote Berger, "was in the cabled tree area and did little damage to any timber of value." [15]

The slide shows and evening programs ended in September, and the seasonal personnel—Link, Boileau, and Richard P. Draper—left. [16] Also during the month jetty work was done at the ruins: 240 jetties were placed at Standing Cow Ruins, 160 constructed at Antelope Ruins, and 240 built at Tse Ta'a Ruins. [17]

Berger also reported that he had reviewed the "Site Development, Residential and Utility Area" drawings for Canyon de Chelly and approved them. He was, however, concerned over the need for an additional 50 feet of land, which was being used by a Navajo lady for grazing purposes. He hoped that he could get permission from the tribe and lady for access to this area. [18]

A report made by Regional Director Hugh Miller, who was at de Chelly from August 31 to September 1, reveals much about the operations there. Miller's inspection was made in relation to Mission 66 master planning. Some of his remarks on pertinent subjects follow:

Organization: This is another small organization, flexible in operation and efficient in fact. The organization consists of the superintendent, a park ranger GS-5, and a full time maintenanceman.

Personnel: The present staff is probably adequate; that is to say it would be adequate with the addition of an administrative assistant when we get an employee's residence to put him in. We are asking for four additional months of park ranger service in the 1960 estimates.

Plant: This is a large monument with many maintenance problems; however, its total powered equipment is limited to one Dodge power pickup, 1957, one-half-ton rated capacity; one Ford pickup truck, one-half-ton 1956; one two-ton Ford dump truck, condition good, and one light Gallion road grader, condition poor. . . . the superintendent should be provided with a passenger automobile.

The layout of offices, workshops, warehouses, etc., is not conducive to efficient work. . . . There is no housing for any employees except the Superintendent. This situation will, however, be very substantially improved when we realize the construction program schedules for the 1960 Fiscal year. It includes a new visitor center, three employees' residences, necessary related utilities, etc. [19]

Commenting on specific items, Miller found the office, which adjoined the superintendent's residence, tiny; the public campground small yet "delightful," with excellent maintenance; the rim drive unsurfaced, yet "remarkably free from trash, no easy achievement in the Indian Country." [20] Concerning overlooks, he believed the view from Tsegi Overlook "magnificent," and noted that the safety barrier and interpretive treatment that were needed were being planned for. The Junction Overlook received the same comments. The White House Overlook, on the other hand, which received the most visitors, had only limited interpretive devices in the form of self-guiding trail leaflets. [21]

Commenting on the relations with the Navajos, Miller believed them to be good. He stated that

Superintendent Berger's estimate of the situation is that so far as the individual members of the National Park Service at Canyon de Chelly are concerned, the Navajo are very friendly. However, he believes that the Navajo resent the presence of the National Park Service as an invasion of their traditional holdings. This seems to be wholly apart from economic reasons but to be imbedded in the traditions and pride of the Navajo Nation. The Superintendent believes that the younger generations will be readier to perceive that actual economic benefits accrue from our presence and that the present resentment may slowly be toned down and perhaps forgotten. Such improvement he feels will be a matter of many years. [22]

Miller also made remarks on the Thunderbird Ranch, which he felt was doing its job; on relations between the Park Service and the Bureau, which he believed to be excellent; and on Berger's administrative qualities, which he believed to be of the highest order. [23]

Aside from this report, Berger commented on campfire interpretive programs at de Chelly and shed light on how things were done there. Berger believed the campfire programs, which consisted of 35 slides and ended with a question and answer session, were very beneficial. [24]

In October the park ranger position was reclassified from GS-5 to GS-7. Also during the month the Park Service cooperated with the Navajo police in apprehending two drunken Navajo boys who had an accident in their pickup on the south rim of the canyon.[25]

Stabilization work under contract was done at the foundation and base of White House Ruins. The work consisted of putting grout into the sand and debris under the ruins to prevent water from shifting and heaving the base material. [26] Evidently, this was a new pumping method of subsoil stabilization seldom used before. [27] The total cost of the project was $6,189.50. Archeologists Steen and Richert were to make periodic inspections to see how the work was progressing and the results. This process had been employed successfully in other stabilization projects, and it was hoped that it would be effective at the White House Ruins. [28]

Berger was still concerned over the proposed developments at de Chelly, especially the problem of a right of way for the proposed south rim road. He believed that a boundary change would not be necessary. [29] He did, however, fear "a great deal of opposition" from the Navajos because the proposed road crossed a section of Navajo farm land. [30]

In November the Navajo tribe did work on the Twin Trails into Canyon del Muerto. This was a Navajo work project for the unemployed and gave jobs to 10 Navajos. The Park Service gave advice when it was requested. Berger commented that "the work was accomplished by hand labor and a satisfactory job resulted." [31]

Also during November, Berger spent several days in Santa Fe at the regional office at a meeting concerning relations with the Navajos. [32] Also present at the meeting were Guillet, then superintendent of Walnut Canyon National Monument, and Arthur H. White, superintendent at Navajo National Monument. [33] This meeting was a result of National Park Service Acting Director E. T. Scoyen's request for a study of the "Navajo's apparent suspicion of planning assistance that the Service has offered from time to time." [34]

The result of this meeting was a report by Berger, Guillet, and White. They traced the early background of Navajo-United States Government contact from 1868 and the histories of the establishment of Canyon de Chelly [35] and Navajo national monuments. Then they turned to the main problem facing the Park Service: "How can we overcome this inbred distrust of government agencies and establish an atmosphere of mutual trust in our dealings with the Tribe?" [36] In answering this question, they felt that the choice of men to deal with the Navajos must be made wisely. They made some rather negative remarks about McSparron, who had owned the Thunderbird Ranch. They believed he had had a great deal of influence with the Navajos and served as a "local news dispensing agency, ward boss and general informer and advisor." He also interfered, according to Berger, Guillet, and White, with Park Service policies he did not agree with. [37]

In recent discussions with the Navajo Tribal Council and their representatives they have stated (a) that we took Rainbow Bridge away from them when it was established as a national monument, (b) that we have in effect taken the Canyon de Chelly and Navajo National Monument lands away from the Indians, and (c) that we have driven them out of Chaco Canyon.

Thompson to Rogers, Apr. 11, 1958, ibid.

They felt that the Navajos had no ill feelings toward the Service personnel who had been stationed at de Chelly. "Without exception, the local people speak well of the monument custodians and superintendents." [38] Slight differences would arise, they said, but this was true of all Government agencies operating on reservations. They believed the Navajos had an "inherited distrust of all people," and hoped that the younger and better educated Navajos "might gradually lose some of this distrust." [39] Concerning the rapid shifting of monument personnel, they believed this to be a hindrance to building confidence and rapport between the Park Service and the Navajos. [40]

In concluding their report, they made six recommendations: 1) they wanted to establish a position of liaison man between the Park Service and the Navajos and suggested Tom Dodge, son of the late Chee Dodge, for the slot. Dodge was employed as superintendent of San Carlos Apache Agency; 2) they hoped that the Park Service personnel in Navajo country would be better informed about the area; 3) they wanted the Navajos to be able to collect fees at the monuments, though for what was unclear; 4) they suggested setting up a booth at the Navajo Tribal Fair on an annual basis; 5) they hoped more Navajos would be employed by the Park Service in trainee positions; 6) they recommended that "superintendents of areas in Arizona and New Mexico be made aware of the problems of the service with the Indian Tribes and further recommend that they be requested to handle under their jurisdiction matters which concern the Indians with discretion and caution." [41]

In December 1958, 433 visitors arrived at de Chelly in 130 cars. The total visitation for 1958 was 15,844 as compared to 13,235 for 1957. [42] Work was progressing on roads from Ganado Junction to Many Farms and from Chinle to the south. The maintenance man, Gorman, who was once again suffering from rheumatism, returned to work after 60 days of treatment. [43] Work was also done on a revision of the White House Trail guide. [44]

The Thunderbird had accommodated 2,776 overnight guests during the year. It still had no buyer. [45] The Navajo tribe was not interested in becoming the owner, Paul Jones, Navajo Tribal Council chairman, stating that "the Navajo Tribe is not interested at this time in purchasing the possessory interest in the Thunderbird Ranch and trading post, and hereby waives its option to purchase such interest in accordance with the Navajo Tribe's lease." [46] Berger informed the regional director of the tribe's decision and said he felt that the proposed prospectus for the Thunderbird should be distributed to all parties "interested in purchasing a concession with the Park Service." [47]

Berger then wrote to Mrs. Nelson and stated that the Navajos were not at present interested in buying the Thunderbird. He believed that the Navajo tribe would not interfere in the sale and informed her of the concession prospectus. In concluding his letter, Berger said that "the present contract, which runs until December 31, 1973, will operate until that date without interference from the tribe." [48]

The prospectus included an invitation to "all persons or corporations interested in acquiring and operating the Thunderbird Ranch and Trading Post. . . ." [49] It further stated that an applicant must be acceptable not only to the Park Service but also to the Navajo Tribal Council. [50]

Contents of the prospectus included a description of the Canyon de Chelly area, park visitation, and concession and Government operations. The Thunderbird Ranch was described as follows:

The Lodge has a large room which at present functions as a dining room and lounge, a kitchen, cook's room with bath, and living quarters for the concessioner consisting of two bedrooms each with bath and a large living room. Also in this building are two guest rooms, each with bath. There are two large porches on the main building. The manager's cabin has two bedrooms, each with bath, a living room and a kitchen. [51]

There were also two cabins for employees, a utility and storage building, a barn and storage building, and three guesthouses. The guesthouses totalled ten double units. [52]

Besides discussing such matters as rates, insurance, and bonding, the prospectus contained information on Mission 66, "the ten-year program undertaken in 1956 by the National Park Service to bring the National Park System up to the standards which the American people want and have a right to expect." Included in the Mission 66 project at Canyon de Chelly were improvements on roads and trails. [53]

The proposal for a water and sewage system at de Chelly caused problems because the proposed sewage lagoon was on fenced Indian land. [54] Berger was instructed to "take preliminary steps to obtain the authorization." [55] The acting regional director also wrote Berger and informed him that the sewage lagoon was definitely within the Canyon de Chelly National Monument boundaries and "this will provide a more advantageous position for us in negotiating for the release of the land needed since the act creating the Monument provides that land required for developments may be so used." [56] Furthermore, Berger was advised that

It is particularly important to avoid a situation which will create a misunderstanding between Indians and the Service which I am sure you understand. Nevertheless, it seems clear that we have a clear legal right to use the land. Adequate notice and due consideration of the Navajo who is using the land are a courtesy we should observe meticulously. [57]

Berger, in turn, began negotiations with the Navajo owner of this land who was to receive a "permit for the use of the field . . . [and] will have the privilege of a 3/4-inch water line so that water may be taken into his house in return for permitting the National Park Service to construct the sewage lagoon in the field." [58] However, the negotiations apparently were not finalized, because the site for the sewage lagoon was moved to a new, less conspicuous location. [59]

Following the recommendations made at the meeting in Santa Fe pertaining to Navajo-Park Service relations, space for a Park Service booth at the Navajo Tribal Fair, which was to be held September 11-14, was obtained from the fair committee. [60] National Park Service Associate Director Scoyen was very pleased with most of the recommendations and believed them worthwhile. He took exception, however, to the recommendation concerning the collection of fees, because this would necessitate legislation and because the expenses involved in collecting the fees would exceed the amount of money collected. [61] Responding to Scoyen's remarks, Miller stated that plans were underway to put the recommendations into effect. [62]

During the month of April, relinquishment rights of tribal Indian land within Canyon de Chelly National Monument needed for road construction was obtained from Anson Bahe, an elderly Navajo woman. Berger wrote to the District 10 Grazing Committee at Chinle requesting consideration "of a problem which involves a strip of land at least fifty (50) feet wide and the length of the fenced field just east of the present Monument Headquarters." [63] Berger said that the existing fence would be removed and a new fence constructed further to the east. The approximate area needed would be one and one-fourth acres. "We urge the Grazing Committee," concluded Berger, "to consider the problem involved and to advise the party concerned to withdraw from the land, without prejudice toward the National Park Service, so the land may be used for development purposes." [64]

The relinquishment agreement obtained from Anson Bahe as was follows:

I, Anson Bahe, Census No. 50978, Hereby relinquish all use rights to the approximate one and one-fourth acres of land which lie within a fifty (50) foot strip of land along the entire western edge of the above described fenced field and further assert that all use rights acouring [sic] to myself or to my heirs and/or dependents will be satisfied, and that we shall enter no protest to the use of these relinquished lands for Monument purposes, upon the following terms and conditions:

The National Park Service agrees to build and maintain a sheep-proof fence along the eastern edge of the above mentioned fifty foot strip of land. The existing fence along the western edge of the strip will be removed and the salvaged materials will be turned over to Anson Bahe.

It is further agreed that Anson Bahe grants permission to the National Park Service to divert surface water away from the proposed residential area upon land used by Anson Bahe. The water will be diverted eastward and northward across land used by Anson Bahe and the National Park Service will construct ____ spreaders or diversion dams to prevent erosion of the remaining land used by Anson Bahe. [65]

Also during March, the annual Easter egg hunt was held in the Cottonwood Campground, and approximately 350 people attended. That month 1,614 visitors arrived in 372 cars. [66]

In April 1959 an article on Canyon de Chelly with vivid color illustrations appeared in Arizona Highways. It outlined Canyon de Chelly's history and contained information on the various ruins. [67] Also during April and extending into May a flu epidemic struck the area. In addition to numerous Navajos, Berger, the ranger, and Guy Tso, the laborer, were afflicted. [68]

In May Berger received a compilation by Edmund B. Rogers entitled "History of Legislation Relating to The National Park System Through the 82nd Congress." It contained valuable legislative material relating to Canyon de Chelly. [69]

John B. Anderson, assistant project engineer, and four engineering students arrived at de Chelly in June to work on new construction projects. [70] Berger reported that the sites for the proposed visitor center, sewage lagoons, and entrance road from the monument boundary to the new parking area had been cross-sectioned and staked. [71] In addition, Anderson and his crew mapped out extensions for the electrical distribution system. [72] Although no bids had been received for this construction by July 16, a low bid was finally received for "Additions to the Electrical Distribution System" on July 21. [73]

Berger pointed out to the chief, Western Office for Design and Construction, that a fence was not included around the proposed sewer lagoons. Berger considered it essential in order to protect small children as well as wandering livestock. [74] The office approved this suggestion. [75]

An interesting report was filed in June by Berger summarizing the most significant events at Canyon de Chelly during the past 12 months. The following three items were listed:

  1. Realignment and reconstruction of approach road to Canyon de Chelly.

  2. Stabilization of White House Ruin.

  3. Reconstruction of Twin Trail leading into Canyon Del Muerto from the north rim. [76]

Visitation for the month of July totaled 3,328 people. Many attended the interpretive talks at the campground, which covered some of the following topics: "Our National Parks and monuments," "Early Inhabitants of the Southwest," "The Navajo, Past and Present," and "Highlights of the Four Corners Area." [77]

Work was also done during July on jetty building and tree planting. The Park Service and Bureau were working well together on these projects, and Berger and Boileau felt that the two Government agencies had a good relationship with the Navajos during the construction work. [78]

A complaint was lodged against the Thunderbird Ranch in August by two visitors from Sweden. They complained of the accommodations, listing such items as no curtains, no hangers, and no door lock in their room. They also complained of the lack of a towel rack, the inoperativeness of both bedlamps, and bad toilet facilities. In closing, they complained of the paper thin walls and stated that

We regret that we must complain, especially since we are foreigners and dislike creating badfeelings [sic] On the other hand, we feel that our extensive travels both here and abroad give us a good basis for comparison. [79]

Answering this complaint, John Wade, manager of the Thunderbird, stated that curtains, hangers, and a towel rack were put in the room. He said that none of the rooms had locks, just screen door latches. The lamps were repaired, but at present, said Wade, no plans were being made to expand the toilet facilities. He concluded that "we do not plan changing the 'paper thin' walls . . . at this time." [80]

Work proceeded in September on the museum exhibit plans for the proposed visitor center. These plans called for 18 exhibits in the exhibit room and lobby. [81]

Also during the month "Ips" infestation was said to be almost in the epidemic stage in areas adjacent to the monument, and a 15-year-old white girl reported an assault by a Navajo boy. Investigation revealed that he tore the girl's blouse. The boy was drunk at the time and was taken by the Navajo police to the Fort Defiance jail. [82]

A great deal of design and construction work began in October. Don Marley, engineer, Carl Alleman, landscape architect, Jerry Riddell, architect, and Harold Marsh, landscape architect, accomplished work on the proposed residential area related to flooding, road location, and the location of the proposed three residences. [83] They also studied a proposed campground entrance road and future campground expansion. [84]

Work was also begun on the access road and parking area as well as on the water and sewage systems. The work on the electrical distribution system was about 65 percent completed; plans for laying an underground cable to the visitor center site and the residential area hinged on the road contractor's progress. [85]

Zorro Bradley, archeologist, submitted a report on the major ruins toward the end of October. He was primarily taking pictures for use in the area's archeological handbook, but he also commented on the need for some stabilization work due to heavy visitor traffic. He said that David De Harport, a Harvard graduate student who had been doing archeological work at de Chelly since 1948, told him of increased vandalism and "pothunting." [86]

In November De Harport was writing archeological site descriptions that were included in his Ph.D. dissertation. [87] During the same month a plane table survey was completed of the campground and the area intended for expansion and was sent to the Washington office. Another survey also mapped the "control points of the Navajo cemetery located at the foot of the hill where the Visitor Center will be located. . . ." It was also sent to Washington. [88]

Berger reported in December that the total visitation for 1959 was 21,148. At the Thunderbird there had been 3,661 overnight guests during the year. Berger also reported that construction of the access road and parking area was progressing, and plans for the three new residences had been received and reviewed. [89]

The annual wildlife report for 1959 revealed that during the summer two bears were killed by the Navajos in retaliation for losses of sheep. Skunks were on the increase, as were porcupines and coyotes. Rabbits, however, were on the decline due to Navajo hunting. [90]

Unusually cold weather struck at the beginning of 1960 and hampered visitation and construction work. Toward the end of January Berger made some interesting comments on the interpretive services at de Chelly. He stated that all visitors who stopped and registered received orientation talks and also could partake in tours (a 12-person minimum requested) and campfire talks. There were informational and directional signs on highways leading to the monument as well as signs on all the overlooks except Tsegi Overlook. In addition, a self-guiding trail booklet was available at the White House Overlook. [91]

Progress on construction of the parking area and access road to the visitor center was approximately 75 percent completed by the end of February, and the installation of water and sewage systems was about 90 percent completed. [92]

Justin La Font, from Prewitt and Albuquerque, New Mexico, visited the Thunderbird Ranch in March as a possible buyer. [93] A financial report issued for the Thunderbird estimated its net worth at $98,113.50. [94] Other information revealed that the Thunderbird could accommodate 24 overnight guests each evening. [95]

Also during March, Berger stated that there were no traffic counters at de Chelly because of the large amount of local Indian traffic. He also received a request from David Dornan to climb Spider Rock. [96] Berger stated that Spider Rock had previously been scaled in 1956 by a group from the Sierra Club. He refused this later request because certain "superstitions" surrounded Spider Rock, and the Navajos "in the immediate Spider Rock area are still working on the 'Spook' or 'Hex' placed upon them during the 1956 climb." [97] However Berger did record that a successful ascent of Spider Rock was made on April 13 by two other individuals from the Sierra Club. [98] The two had failed to register or to get permission for the climb. [99]

On May 31 the Thunderbird Ranch was sold to La Font, who assumed ownership on June 1. [100] La Font still needed approval from the Park Service and the Navajo Tribal Council, however. He reportedly paid $110,000 for the Thunderbird. [101]

Construction work was forging ahead. Bids had been received and accepted for the following: residence and bulk l.p. gas systems—$60,075, completed on May 23, 1960; parking areas and access roads—$85,721.12, completed on July 12, 1960; and the comfort station—$11,684, completed on June 8, 1961. [102] Concern also existed over the campground road extension. Apparently a change in the plans had been suggested and the regional director, Thomas J. Allen, was against such a move. He stated that "previous plans called for extensions by constructing an additional loop to the northwest and by adding a short section of road through the center of the existing loop." He wanted to keep this scheme. [103] Furthermore, Allen stated that "although the existing Indian cemetery is not located on the drawing, it is our recollection that the road line shown for future expansion enters that restricted area." [104]

Four pinon trees were removed in June from the Spider Rock area because of "Ips" infestation. [105] Also during the month a complaint was made against the physical facilities at Canyon de Chelly by J. P. Dods, who had previously visited the area in 1913. [106] Dods complained of the lack of signs, the bad roads, the bad accommodations at the Thunderbird, the bad rim road, the shabby and old cars used for canyon trips, and the disinterest of the superintendent and ranger toward him. He asked if something could be done to improve these deficiencies. "Present conditions," he said, "are a disgrace to the National Park System." [107]

Berger replied to the criticism by stating that due to the construction going on at the time of Dod's visit, several things were abnormal. He said that the Thunderbird had recently purchased two Jeep station wagons that were in good condition, and apologized for any inconvenience. [108]

During September Berger assisted with the Park Service exhibit at the Navajo Tribal Fair at Window Rock, Arizona. The exhibit explained the Park Service-Navajo relationship and cooperation on certain matters. Berger reported that the exhibit attracted many people. [109]

An interpretation service change also occurred during September. The White House Trail pamphlets were discontinued, and in their stead, a lettered interpretive device was to be placed at the stand on White House Overlook. [110]

Visitors who came to Canyon de Chelly to camp overnight could utilize the 14 tent sites or the four trailer sites. There were no water, sewer, or electrical hookups for the trailers, but there were tables, fireplaces, refuse containers, and restroom facilities. [111]

Two additional reports filed in September described facilities at de Chelly. On the office porch were interpretive displays consisting of a map of the area, photographs, and instructions on "what to do and see at Canyon de Chelly National Monument." Another display contained cards and publications for sale. [112] In addition, there was the seven-panel multiplex display containing 14 exhibits on such things as geology, plant life, the early navajo country, photographs of the major ruins, campaigns and treaties, maps of the Navajo country, Navajo handicrafts, and Navajo ceremonials and sites. [113] Commenting on Berger, Regional Director Thomas J. Allen remarked that he "has a good relationship with the Navajos and officials of the Bureau of Indian Affairs." [114]

The other report contained information on the physical plant, personnel, and future plans. It described the superintendent's office, a 10- by 12-foot room, as "not conducive to efficient work." The superintendent lived in the only residence, built in the 1930s, and the ranger lived in a trailer. [115] The maintenance man and a laborer, both Navajos, lived in their own homes nearby. In addition, there were comments on the new construction that would greatly improve the area. [116]

The Thunderbird Ranch underwent some remodeling after its new owner, La Font, was duly authorized and accepted by the National Park Service. The front porch of the lodge was made into an office and waiting room for guests. Other changes consisted of new cement flooring and new shelving. [117] An inspection was made of the Thunderbird in September, and findings indicated that most of the operation was satisfactory, except that greater care in cleaning the meat cutting equipment and in cleaning the tables in the cafe was needed. [118] The problem of broken bottles was being solved by ordering soft drinks in cans. Also, La Font stated that he was planning to eliminate the family-style service in the lodge dining room because of a reduction in the number of overnight guests. [119] La Font still had not received permission from the Navajo Tribal Council for a concession contract, although Berger expressed satisfaction at and approval of La Font's management. [120]

Finally the Navajo tribe consented to the concession contract. [121] La Font's plan of changing family-style dinners to restaurant-style dinners was approved. However, Berger was cautioned that if La Font planned new construction or structural changes at the Thunderbird, he needed the approval of the Park Service. [122]

The contract contained the requirement that "the concessioner pay to the Navajo Tribe a franchise fee of 1-1/2% of gross receipts or $300, whichever is greater." [123]

In November two events occurred pertaining to Indian affairs. The first concerned a search for a Hopi shrine carried out in Canyon de Chelly and Monument Canyon by Dr. Ned Danson and two Hopi Indians. The discovery of the shrine was necessary to substantiate their claim in a Hopi-Navajo lands case that was before a Federal court. The shrine was not found. [124]

The other incident revolved around an Indian woman who sold a cup to a visitor for $4. This violated Park Service rules, and the cup was confiscated. It was later found to be an artifact from the 13th or 14th century. It was kept at Canyon de Chelly and later sent to the archeological center in Globe. [125]

At the end of November, proposals were made for future research projects at Canyon de Chelly. Among the work was a continuation of De Harport's survey and Tse-Ta'a salvage, salvage and stabilization work at Mummy Cave, and an ecological study of the Navajos' adaption to the Canyon de Chelly region. [126]

As the year ended, 20,544 visitors to de Chelly were recorded. The three new residences were completed, and the new comfort station was almost finished. [127] An agreement also was made with the Bureau to work on a hazardous section of the south rim road in Canyon de Chelly, especially because a school bus carried 60 or more children to and from school on this road. [128] Another Bureau project involved paving the road between Chinle and Canyon de Chelly. Berger believed that this would be a "very worthwhile project." [129]

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Last Updated: 08-Mar-2004