Monday, December 19, 2016
Before Arches National Park -- A Vast Cattle Domain
The Wolf Cabin in Arches National Park.
By Lynn Arave
LONG before Arches National Park came along, this area north of Moab, Utah was a huge cattle ranching area. Early settlers were simply not impressed with scenery when they had to make a living in harsh desert territory.
The Wolf Ranch, just west of Delicate Arch and near the trailhead to the famous arch, was the most famous of these cattle ranches.
This ranch came along in 1898 and was about 150 acres in size, operated by Civil War Veteran John Wesley Wolf.
According to the Times Independent Newspaper of Aug. 3, 1967, a flood in the Salt Wash of Arches in 1906 washed Wolf's first cabin away and he had to build another away from the main drainage.
After Wolf sold out and left, sheep were grazed in the area. Also, horses ran free in the area.
The desolate Salt River Wash area.
It wasn't until 1936 when the Arches area was seen by more than cowboys and ranchers. That's because horseback or a jolting wagon ride were the only ways to access the area before that.
Dr. J.W. Williams and other Moab residents were credited with the first automobile ride into Arches in 1936 -- and they only reached the Balanced Rock and Windows area.