Will M. Maupin|
After the proclamation was signed, it became
necessary to appoint a custodian for the Monument. In these early days
of the National Park Service, it was financially impossible to establish
regular employees at each area and the custom was formed of appointing
some responsible and interested local citizen to look after the
Government's interests. In 1921, for example, the entire budget
appropriated for all National Monuments was only $12,500. Today, Scotts
Bluff alone enjoys an annual budget of about $40,000.
The first such custodian for Scotts Bluff was Willie
Major Maupin, editor of the Gering Midwest, and staunch supporter
for its establishment. His appointment took effect on April 10, 1920, at
an annual salary of $12. "Will" Maupin had been in the newspaper
business most of his life and had been State Labor Commissioner from
1909 to 1911, and Director of Publicity from 1919 to 1920. After leaving
Gering in 1924, he served on such newspapers as the Omaha Bee,
Omaha World-Herald, the Commoner, and the Clay Center,
Nebraska, paper. He was one of the founders of the Nebraska State
Federation of Labor. He died in Clay Center in 1948, at the age of 85,
after serving on the State Railway Commission from 1934 to 1941. 
Mr. Maupin's nominal position as custodian did not
prevent him from making recommendations to the Director for various
improvements to the area. He proposed, for example, that a private
corporation be formed to construct a road from Mitchell Pass to the
summit of the bluff, that 25¢ admission be levied, and that an
"amusement resort" consisting of a pavilion and cafe be erected there.
 Acting Director Cammerer replied
that there were no funds for such activity and that it was against
National Park Service policy to permit such an undertaking.
Custodian Maupin was truly interested in the Monument
and never ceased to recommend improvements. He sent the following letter
to the Director. 
"September 15, 1920
Mr. Stephen Mather, Director,
National Park Service,
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Mather:
Shortly after my appointment as custodian, a party of
Boy Scouts from Gering and Scottsbluff acting under my direction,
greatly improved the pathway to the summit . . . Apart from this one
thing there has been nothing done in the way of improvements.
(Sgd.) Will Maupin,
Again, on December 20, he wired the Washington
"Marauders cutting trees on Scottsbluff [sic]
Monument grounds impossible for one man to patrol ask permit to employ
two men at six dollars a day each for next four or five days."
Acting Director Cammerer was able to comply with this
"Can only authorize one patrol six dollars day not
more than five days account lack of funds. Post warning in newspapers
that vandals will be prosecuted."
Even after he received authorization to spend a
limited amount of funds for protection, Custodian Maupin could not hire
his "patrolman" since a blanket of snow covered the area and the tree
There is little doubt about Maupin's enthusiasm
concerning his new duties. He evidently went to the Monument quite often
during his tenure of office. His frequent correspondence with the
Washington Office indicates this. Although Mr. Maupin did not entirely
understand the various policies which apply to National Park Service
administration, rules, and regulations, he was sympathetic with all
directives and orders from the central headquarters, and quite often
went about the task of making temporary improvements under his own
initiative and expense.
In February, 1922, he wrote the Director a letter (he
evidently did not know or understand the correct procedure of
communications by memoranda and always sent letters or telegrams; the
former were usually under the letterhead of the Gering Midwest),
explaining the matter of his own expense of running the Monument, but
that he was quite willing and able to do so. Despite receiving repeated
denials of requests for funds for various matters, he seemed undisturbed
and continued his requests during his tenure. He earnestly requested a
regulation revolver, a holster, belt, and ammunition, a regulation
rifle, a motorcycle, and a typewriter.  Again, the financial situation for
National Monuments was such that these requests were denied, but he
later received a badge and a pair of binoculars as substitutes. 
During the last days that Mr. Maupin served as
Custodian, his own business in Gering began to fail. When he had the
chance to sell his newspaper he accepted the offer and resigned his
office as Custodian, effective July 1, 1924.
In spite of all these setbacks, Custodian Maupin did
achieve some improvement. His report for 1921 indicates he was able to
install "several" picnic tables near the foot of the original slanting
trail to the summit on the east face. These were paid for by the
Scottsbluff Commercial Club and perhaps by local donations, although
existing records are not clear on this point. He did receive one
allotment of $50 from Washington on April 2, 1923. This amount was
finally approved, after strenuous efforts on his part, to improve the
small picnic area referred to. With it he built one fireplace and
repaired the tables already set up.
Mr. Maupin also granted one grazing permit to A. S.
Bracken who had been using the Monument for several years, When the
Monument was withdrawn from public use, it was necessary that Mr.
Bracken be issued a temporary permit for grazing with the stipulation
that all such grazing activities would cease within three years. Mr.
Bracken's permit was valid from January 1, 1921, through December 31,
1921, for which he paid an $88 fee. 
He made no effort to renew this permit and grazing stopped in the area
until 1943 when the war effort required grazing on certain National Park
Visitation records for the first five years of the
Monument are almost nonexistent. Acting Director Arno B. Cammerer wired
Maupin for his estimate for the year 1920, the first year of operation.
The Custodian replied that some 2,500 people used the old foot trail and
wooden ladder at the summit (placed there before the Monument was
established) and that another 5,000 had picnicked on the "slopes" of the
bluff between April 15 and October 15. 
After Mr. Maupin left Gering in July, 1924, the
Monument was without a Custodian for over a year and there are no
records for that period.