These snowshoes, owned by Miner’s Basin prospector Gordon Fowler, are part of the Museum’s Collection. [Moab Museum Collection]

Summertime visitors to the Moab Museum may have difficulty understanding why there’s a pair of snowshoes on display in the Museum’s gallery. While the desert, of course, isn’t well-known for its snow, locals know that the La Sal Mountains outside of Moab can get quite snowy indeed. 

Today, Moabites enjoy recreating in the mountains in the wintertime on sleds, skis, or snowmobiles. In the past, the remote community of Miner’s Basin high in the La Sals was the site of a seasonal mining operation, with some hardy souls overwintering in the snowy basin. In Miner’s Basin’s heyday, it boasted a store, a post office, and lodging for over a hundred optimistic miners. 

Gordon Fowler, whose initials are found on the wood of these snowshoes, used these snowshoes to prospect in Miner’s Basin in the La Sals many decades after most others gave up hope of mining riches in the area. Made with a sturdy hardwood frame with rawhide lacing, the snowshoes allowed the wearer to travel over powdery snow without sinking knee-deep. The snowshoes were acquired by the Museum from the estate of Bill Conners, who grubstaked Fowler’s endeavor.

The Moab Museum is dedicated to sharing stories of the natural and human history of the Moab area. To explore more of Moab’s stories and artifacts, find out about upcoming programs, and become a Member, visit www.moabmuseum.org.