Capitol Reef
Administrative History
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Mission 66 Associated Maps And Drawings - 1957-1966

Documents found in:

  1. Drawer 9, Folders 2-5, Capitol Reef National Park Archives.

  2. Technical Information Center, Denver, Colorado (see Appendix B for document # for each specific map or drawing).

  3. RG 79, Accession 79-65A-580, Container SB202684, Box 1, File D18, NA-Denver (1959 Master Plan drawings).

Throughout the Mission 66 era, there were several different proposals for developing the Fruita area. These maps, drawings, and mylar overlays indicate up to eight campground loops covering all of the Gifford and Mulford properties, a visitor center on the site of the Capitol Reef Lodge, and various road realignments.

These drawings, dated 1957, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1964, along with the complete 1966 master plan, are excellent sources for researching Mission 66 Developments at Capitol Reef -- the most dramatic changes ever made within the monument or park.

Master Plan Narrative - Draft, July 27, 1961

Document found in:

  1. RG 79, Accession 79-67A-505, Container 342490, Box 1, File D18, NA-Denver

  2. Admin. History Files

This narrative re-emphasizes the policy statements first found in the Mission 66 Prospectus. The arguments for turning the old highway into a dead-end scenic drive and the need to purchase the private inholdings at Fruita are presented in greater detail. Other immediate and potential problems are also listed in this brief, five page narrative.

Master Plan Of Capitol Reef National Park - September 1964

Prepared by William T. Krueger, Superintendent, Capitol Reef

Document found in:

  1. Box 3, Folder 1, Capitol Reef Archives.

  2. Administrative History Notes and Files.

This document helps place Capitol Reef developments and current and projected problems at a time when a majority of Mission 66 projects had been completed. The highway along the Fremont River was two years old; the visitor center, campground, and water treatment plant were nearly finished; and all but 14.83 acres (the Bird lodge and Gifford properties) had been purchased. There are excellent details concerning current accessibility to the area, population trends of the neighboring communities, and interesting descriptions of nearby features. The 1964 master plan describes the monument's negligible fire history, soils, dominant vegetation, common wildlife, and stream descriptions. It also provides visitor use comparisons between 1958 and 1963, showing dramatic increase due to the new, paved highway through the monument. Visitation in 1975 was estimated to be close to 400,000. Yet, it was projected that only half of those would ever turn off the highway and take a closer look at the monument.

This document is useful in demonstrating management concerns as Mission 66 at the monument is winding down. The various routes of accessibility to the area and surrounding features are historically important but there is little here of significance to current or future park management policies.

Master Plans 1964-67

Document location -

  1. Partial copies of 1964 Design Analysis and 1965 Management Program narratives are found in the Administrative History Notes and Files and in the notes of Kathy McKoy, historian from the Intermountain Regional Office (Colorado Plateau) and co-author of the 1993 Draft Cultural Landscape Report. The original source is not known.

  2. The 1979 General Management Plan Task Directive states that the last approved master plan was submitted in 1967. Yet, there are no known copies in the Capitol Reef Archives, Technical Information Services documents or at the National Archives-Rocky Mountain Region in Denver, Colorado.

The 1964 design analysis chapter of the master plan, is a five-page outline of existing conditions; final Mission 66 construction plans for the visitor center, maintenance area and Capitol Gorge information and exhibit shelter; and various management concerns. Of note is the acknowledgment that the orchards must be maintained in order to retain water rights acquired as part of the purchase of the various inholdings.

The management program narrative is in Chapter 3 of a September 1965 master plan prepared by Superintendent William T. Krueger (but never approved by the regional director). This document is an extensive, 37-page examination of current conditions and perceived needs for better management of the monument's resources. Discussed are the needs to:

  1. ensure adequate protection of the fragile biotic resources from arbitrary road, trail, and building construction;

  2. control tent caterpillars, fall webworms, and grasshoppers in the Fruita area;

  3. foster and maintain good relations with area stockmen;

  4. maintain special-use permit for fruit orchards to continue vegetation of the Fruita area, provide traditional fruit-picking opportunities for local communities, and preserve at least a portion of Fruita for its "early pioneer atmosphere";

  5. conduct more studies on what to do with deer, beaver, and other mammal overpopulation in the Fruita area;

  6. work with upstream users of the Fremont River and Sulphur Creek to protect water quality;

  7. work with other agencies to reduce soil erosion within and surrounding the monument;

  8. expand both the Visitor Protection and Interpretive Divisions;

  9. acquire both the Capitol Reef Lodge and Gifford Motel;

  10. work with local communities to provide quality accommodations outside the monument boundaries, since none are to be built at Fruita;

  11. provide more staff training, professional growth opportunities, and research of monument resources; and

  12. construct a second four-unit seasonal apartment building and three permanent employee residences by 1975.

Overall, this document describes Capitol Reef's status toward the end of Mission 66 construction. Management was still adjusting to rapid changes caused by the purchase of inholdings, the construction of the Fremont River canyon highway and the increase in visitation over the previous five years.

Master Plan - December 1973

Prepared by The Environmental Associates: Architects Planners

Landscape Architects, Salt Lake City, Utah

Document found in:

  1. Document 158 D-9, TIC.

  2. Copy in Administrative History Notes and Files.

Submitted two years after Capitol Reef became a national park, this contracted master plan stressed transportation and other improvements needed to provide access and better management of park lands, now 600 percent larger than the old national monument. While the specific objections to this document are unknown, it was considered inadequate and was not approved by the National Park Service. [9]

The 38-page master plan narrative, which contains many planning maps, is accompanied by a lengthy transportation study required by the park's enabling legislation. [10] The descriptions of natural and cultural resources are brief and contain no new or in-depth information.

The 1973 Capitol Reef Master Plan emphasized "basic concepts to provide preservation and restoration of the natural ecological interrelationships and for a development scheme compatible with this theme as well as to serve the inspirational and recreational needs of a growing society." [11]

The master plan proposes some interesting ideas, some of which have been instituted and some which have not. One proposal was to have two distinct districts in addition to the Fruita headquarters area. For the Fruita area, recommendations include:

  1. gradually phasing out the campground once private facilities outside the park are built;

  2. providing interpretation in a manner that encourages visitors to leave their cars; and

  3. paving Scenic Drive from Fruita to Pleasant Creek, where an interpretation station would be built.

North District recommendations are to:

  1. pave the Cathedral Valley and Hartnet roads and manage them as a one-way scenic loop drive;

  2. build a ranger station and residences in upper Cathedral Valley;

  3. acquire the water rights to Deep Creek so that the diversion north would be eliminated and wildlife can be reintroduced; and

  4. manage the Deep Creek/Paradise Flats/Spring Canyon region as a primitive zone.

South District recommendations are to:

  1. pave the Notom Road but keep the Burr Trail gravel and dirt;

  2. close the Halls Creek jeep road, restore the vegetation where possible, and manage the area as a primitive zone;

  3. build a ranger station and residences at the junction of the Burr Trail and the Notom Road;

  4. construct interpretive trails in the vicinity of the Burr Trail; and

  5. allow a utility corridor through Oak Creek Canyon.

General Management Objectives are to:

  1. manage the entire park on a year-round basis;

  2. centralize park management and administration;

  3. institute a comprehensive research program for natural and cultural resources;

  4. acquire all lands and interests concerning mining and grazing;

  5. cooperate with the Bureau of Land Management in the grazing phaseout;

  6. construct adequate housing for park employees;

  7. design a "vigorous" public relations campaign with local communities; and

  8. conduct a study to determine future concession potential.

Resource Management recommendations are to:

  1. restore all land, wildlife, and vegetation to pre-settlement conditions, except in the Fruita area;

  2. fence the park boundary;

  3. manage Fruita as a pre-1930 living farm; and

  4. manage the orchards "according to good agricultural practices" while retaining their historic appearance. [12]

While this master plan was not approved by park managers and regional officials, there are some thought-provoking ideas in this first comprehensive document after park creation that should be examined by present and future managers at Capitol Reef.

Task Directive - General Management Plan - 1979

Prepared by Rocky Mountain Region, Capitol Reef and Denver Service Center

Document found in Administrative History Notes and Files.

This task directive outlines the need for a general management plan for Capitol Reef since the last significantly outdated master plan in 1967. This document is important because it identifies specific management problems and lists the status of relevant documents.

Unbelievably, there was no park-wide management plan eight years after Capitol Reef National Park was created. This task directive lists the numerous management problems faced by an overwhelmed park staff with little long-term guidance.

These problems included:

  1. doubling of visitation and 600 percent increase in land since the last master plan was approved;

  2. inadequate camping space;

  3. uncertainty surrounding proposed road improvements and realignments;

  4. lack of adequate housing and maintenance facilities;

  5. an overcrowded visitor center too small to accommodate the increasing flow of tourists;

  6. lack of information on floodplains;

  7. uncertainty as to what to do with Sleeping Rainbow Ranch on Pleasant Creek, North and South District roads, and other possible facility developments in the more remote areas of the park; and

  8. numerous resource management issues.

One reason mentioned for the lack of a master plan was the realization that the park's resources were largely unknown. Once a preliminary, "only partly successful" inventory was completed in 1975, funds were programmed but not given priority status until FY 81.

This task directive also lists the scope of work, time tables, preliminary funding estimates, and staff responsibilities for that general management plan and associated environmental impact statement, statement of findings, and supplemental wilderness proposal to be completed by 1983.

Final Environmental Impact Statement/General Management Plan/Statement of Findings - October 1982

Project Coordinator - Allen R. Hagood, Denver Service Center

Superintendent - Derek O. Hambly

Document found in:

  1. Document 15883-07 D, Technical Information Center, Denver.

  2. Capitol Reef Unprocessed Archives.

  3. Superintendent's Files.

  4. Administrative History Notes and Files.

This is the final, director-approved draft that became the primary planning document for Capitol Reef National Park from 1982 through the late 1990s. After two years of analysis, scoping, public input, and writing, National Park Service officials determined to balance limited compromise of park resources with some upgrades in visitor facilities and accessibility. The preferred alternative will be the only section addressed in this study, since it is impossible to cover all the material in this document. However, the thorough information the study contains on existing developments, current and future management problems, various development alternatives, and the public response to them, are a valuable resource and should be given adequate attention by all current and incoming park managers.

Not all the preferred alternatives, which together formed Capitol Reef National Park's management plan, are listed here. Instead, only those items relevant in the 1990s will be mentioned. Please see the GMP's Table 1, pages 31-36 and Appendix B: Plan Rationale and Methods, pages B-1 through B-7 for more complete information. Also see the various development maps for each area listed below found on pages 39-50.

Headquarters District recommendations call for:

  1. adding a two-story, 3,440-square-foot addition to the visitor center and an adjoining first aid building;

  2. expanding visitor center parking by 10 spaces and realigning the entry road;

  3. widening and paving the Goosenecks Overlook Road;

  4. doubling the existing campground by adding a 50-site loop, a group site, and expanding the water/sewage system;

  5. realigning the campground entrance, adding a 10-car trailhead parking area at the old entrance, building a two-mile loop trail from the campground to the visitor center, and relocating the amphitheater;

  6. removing all lodge buildings, employee trailers, and the Sprang Cottage, and then rehabilitating these areas to a "pastoral scene";

  7. building four duplexes and three additional seasonal apartments in the existing residence area and expanding the water/sewage system accordingly; and

  8. retaining all existing roads, trails with the addition of nine wayside exhibits.

Pleasant Creek recommendations call for:

  1. providing a 10-20 car parking and trailhead orientation area;

  2. adding trails to Tantalus Flats, Oak Creek, and Sheets Gulch; and

  3. providing a small corral and a two-site campground for equestrian use.

South District recommendations call for:

  1. adding separate five-car parking and orientation pull-outs along the Notom Road at the Burro, Five Mile, Sheets, and Cottonwood drainages;

  2. adding a one-mile trail from Bitter Creek Divide to Oyster Shell Reef;

  3. closing the Upper Muley Twist road and constructing a new 2.5-mile gravel road to and a 15-car parking area at Strike Valley Overlook; and

  4. building a ranger station and utility area at the bottom of Burr Trail and a primitive, 10-site campground and residence area at the top of Burr Trail.

The 1982 Capitol Reef General Management Plan specified that Burr Trail and Notom Road were not to be improved by the National Park Service. If state or county agencies proposed improvements, the National Park Service was to have a significant role the in design and regulation of these roads. There were also to be no developments in Halls Creek. North Coleman Canyon was selected as a preferred utility corridor, rather than the Oak Creek Corridor proposed in the rejected 1973 master plan. [13]

North District recommendations are to:

  1. forego National Park Service upgrading of roads into the district, while retaining regulatory rights and design approval in the event of state or county improvements;

  2. provide wayside exhibits at Gypsum Sinkhole and Glass Mountain but not provide additional parking;

  3. provide a five-car parking area and route markings into North Cathedral Valley;

  4. restrict camping to the existing Hartnet campground; and

  5. prohibit any additional developments in the North District.

Also included in the 1982 Final Environmental Impact Statement/General Management Plan are:

  1. a detailed analysis of the effects of this plan on the park's natural and cultural resources and the socioeconomic impact on the surrounding region; and

  2. a Statement of Findings listing existing and proposed structures were within the 100- and 500-year floodplains.

Boundary adjustments were also proposed. The plan recommended that Blue Flats and mostly state-owned sections near Sandy Ranch and in the Circle Cliffs be excluded from the park. In exchange, the National Park Service desired tracts in the upper Sulphur Creek area and a small section including Glass Mountain. These boundary adjustments would also result in a natural boundary with the Circle Cliffs. These adjustments were countered by proposals from the Bureau of Land Management and Wayne and Garfield County officials. Since those counter proposals called for transferring a much larger amount of park land over to the BLM, they were totally unacceptable to National Park Service officials. In the end, the 1982 boundary proposal was dropped altogether. [14]

As regional officials and Capitol Reef management continue the process toward a new general management plan in 1996, this 1982 document should prove valuable. There is no question that this document is now outdated. Yet, it did provide a useful, and desperately needed planning focus for Capitol Reef National Park.

Statements For Management - August 1977; May 1979; September 1981; December 1984; July 1987; October 1989

Documents found in:

  1. Document 158-D-17,A-E, Technical Information Center.

  2. SFMs for 1984-1989 found in Superintendent's Files.

  3. SFMs for 1984-1989 found in Administrative History Notes and Files.

These documents give excellent details on current management concerns, planning document status, natural and cultural resource research and threats, land use trends, visitor use analysis, and cooperative agreements and special-use permits. They have proven extremely helpful in the compilation of Capitol Reef's administrative history. They are a source of information for anyone researching past resource issues or changing management concerns over the past 20 years.

Task Directive - General Management Plan, Development Concept Plans, Interpretive Prospectus And Environmental Impact Statement -1992

Prepared by Rocky Mountain Regional Office and Capitol Reef staff, Christopher C. Marvel, Team Captain

Recommended by Superintendent Charles V. Lundy

Document found in:

  1. Capitol Reef Superintendent's Files.

  2. Administrative History Notes and Files.

This is the proposal to draft a new general management plan/environmental impact statement, two development concept plans, and an interpretive prospectus, all to be completed by 1996. Included in this document are the time tables, issue identifications, applicable data, and funding and staffing requirements for this ambitious project that "will provide the National Park Service with direction for long-range management, development, and use of Capitol Reef National Park." [15]

This task directive provides the latest information on current resources, water rights, rights-of-way, and other administrative and resource concerns. Until the 1998 general management plan is completed, this will likely be the most up-to-date document concerning park issues.


Wilderness Proposal - 1967

Document found in:

  1. Box 2, Folders 3-4, 8-12, Capitol Reef Archives.

  2. Associated maps, Box 2, Folders 9 and 12, Drawer 9, Folder 4, Drawer 11, folders 4-6, Capitol Reef Archives.

  3. Administrative History Notes and Files (partial copy).

According to the requirements of the 1964 Wilderness Act, all areas of the national park system with more than 5,000 contiguous roadless acres were to be evaluated for wilderness designation. The first draft wilderness proposal for Capitol Reef National Monument was submitted for public review in September 1967 (Box 2, Folder 7 - Capitol Reef Archives); public hearings were held in Loa, Utah on December 12, 1967 (Box 2, Folder 3-4); and written comments were also accepted at that time (Box 2, Folder 8-11). A formal wilderness recommendation was not submitted to Congress until April 1971. Of course, by this time President Lyndon Johnson had already expanded Capitol Reef National Monument, and enabling legislation for a national park was well on its way toward passage. This made any wilderness recommendations for the old monument obsolete.

The initial proposal called for five units within the old monument boundaries. The Fremont, Grand Wash, Capitol Gorge, and Pleasant Creek canyons and a 1/8-mile buffer zone surrounding the entire monument formed the basic boundaries of the wilderness units. The December hearing transcript and the hundreds of letters responding to these recommendations demonstrate how Capitol Reef managers were placed in the difficult position between local resident desires for little to no wilderness and environmentalist's pressures for more wilderness.

The most contentious discussions concerned the 1/8 mile buffer that National Park Service officials believed "the minimum essential for present and future management needs" [16] and the exclusion of the bisecting canyons. These canyons were omitted from the wilderness plans since they contained roads, were used as stock driveways, or both. The environmentalists believed that these driveways and grazing uses were not incompatible with wilderness. They also believed that the buffer zone, proposed in other contemporary National Park Service wilderness plans, was an unnecessary limit. At the December hearings, and through later correspondence, local ranchers were promised that the stock driveways would be guaranteed. The 1/8-mile buffer was never specifically addressed in that later correspondence.

These documents pertaining to the 1967 Wilderness Proposal are, of course, outdated by the expansion of the monument in 1969 and the creation of the national park in 1971. Yet, the testimony and written statements, as well as the various detailed maps of the proposal, give an excellent idea of the local, conservationists, and National Park Service concepts of wilderness in the late 1960s.

Proposed Wilderness: Draft Environmental Statement - June 1974

Prepared by Denver Service Center, Allen R. Hagood, project coordinator.

Document found in:

  1. Document 15874-73, Technical Information Center.

  2. Administrative History Notes and Files

This is a detailed, well-written account of Capitol Reef National Park's numerous resource issues that would have an impact on any proposed wilderness. The wilderness plan, examined more thoroughly in the September 1973 "Wilderness Study, Capitol Reef National Park," breaks the park down into nine proposed units covering 181,230 acres (or 75 percent) of Capitol Reef. In this document, the nine units are only summarily discussed.

Most of this draft environmental statement is concerned with a thorough analysis of existing developments, the natural environment, the region's economy, and past, present, and future land use concerns. The resource descriptions and supplemental maps provide an excellent source for general information about resource conflicts that park managers have faced since the national park was established in 1971. Notably, this draft environmental impact statement was withdrawn in 1983, when preliminary proposals to increase the wilderness to 91 percent of park lands were introduced. The 1998 general management plan is to address the need for another formal wilderness proposal.

Wilderness Recommendation - November 1974

Document found in:

  1. Document 158-D-703-A, Technical Information Center, Denver.

  2. Capitol Reef Superintendent's Files.

  3. Capitol Reef Unprocessed Archives.

This is the last formal wilderness proposal submitted to Congress for Capitol Reef National Park. The document includes the formal recommendation for wilderness, the December 1973 Draft Wilderness Study, public hearing and written response analysis, the views of other government agencies, and a map of Capitol Reef's wilderness. [17] This wilderness proposal was submitted to Congress with other area parks in March 1978. No other record has been found that could determine why the wilderness recommendation was never brought to a vote. In 1984, the wilderness recommendation was revised upward to include almost 90 percent of the park. Yet, the Department of the Interior did not submit this plan to Congress. In lieu of formal congressional approval, the entire area proposed for wilderness status in 1984 is, as of 1994, treated as wilderness in all park management decisions.

The analysis of public hearings and written responses contains a summary table of the 300 responses and a general description of views by conservationists, local interest groups, and other agencies. There are several letters included in this section that will give park managers a good idea of the various national and local viewpoints toward wilderness management at Capitol Reef National Park. Perhaps the most important response was from Utah Governor Calvin L. Rampton's office, which opposed any official wilderness designation for the Utah parks until the completion of a comprehensive master plan that addressed local considerations. [18]

As the last extensive wilderness recommendation, this document is important in understanding what areas are considered of wilderness quality, and varied reactions to proposed wilderness in the park. The document is, of course, somewhat dated, and consequently, many of the resource conflicts have been altered in some way. Thus, while useful, this document should be used to supplement the 1982 Capitol Reef General Management Plan and the statements for management throughout the rest of the 1980s.

Land Protection Plan - 28 March 1984

Recommended by Superintendent Robert W. Reynolds

Approved by Acting Regional Director Jack W. Neckels

Document found in Capitol Reef Superintendent's Files. [19]

As the first land protection plan for Capitol Reef National Park, this is an interesting document pertaining to the contemporary landownership status for the park and alternatives for acquiring non-federal lands within Capitol Reef.

Included in the 1984 Land Protection Plan is a summary list of current ownership which included 19,000 acres of state sections, the .42-acre tract in Fruita owned by the descendants of Amasa Pierce, funding status, and acquisition priorities. There is also a map showing the location of non-federal land tracts and a table of acquisitions to date.

The potential conflicts over the state sections and a brief description of the Pierce-owned tract in Fruita are found in the document, as are the various alternatives for acquiring these lands. The final recommendation was to leave tract 01-161, the private .42-acre plot, alone for the time being, but to consider eventual "friendly condemnation." State lands were to be exchanged through the Project Bold program, which was never enacted. A second alternative was to exchange the state lands for federal lands in other areas of Utah through the Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976. Mineral leases were to be left alone, since their monetary value was uncertain. Grazing was also to be only monitored for the time being.

Although somewhat dated, this document contains some useful information on landownership during the 1980s.

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Last Updated: 10-Dec-2002