Bad luck continues for Mount Rushmore

Each year more than 3 million travelers visit the nationally-recognizable Mount Rushmore National Memorial.It was announced last week that there will be no Fourth of July fireworks display this year at Mount Rushmore. Pine beetles have killed many of the trees in the area, and those dead trees are a fire risk.

The announcement was just the latest in a string of bad news for the memorial. It all began with last year’s July Fourth fireworks display, when the fog around the memorial was so thick that the usually spectacular display could barely be seen.

Then, on July 8, some Greenpeace activists made a mockery of the security around Mount Rushmore when they climbed to the top of the mountain and unfurled a giant banner calling for action on global warming. The climbers have since received light sentences for illegally climbing the memorial, and changes in Mount Rushmore security have been made that include the termination of special tours to the top of the mountain.

In November, Gerard Baker, the superintendent of the memorial, suffered a stroke. He is expected to come back to work this week.

Through it all, pine beetles have marched relentlessly through the Black Hills, leaving swaths of dead trees in their wake.

Let’s hope the new year brings new and better luck to South Dakota’s top tourist attraction.

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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