Billboard battle in the Black Hills

There’s been a lot of fighting over the years about billboards in the Black Hills. It results from the constant tension between companies who want to advertise their products or services and naturalists who want to protect the scenic beauty of the area from over-commercialization.

The latest flare-up is over a proposed electronic billboard along Mount Rushmore Road. Here’s an excerpt from a story published Tuesday by the Rapid City Journal:

The newly reorganized Mount Rushmore Road Group is gearing up to fight a proposed electronic billboard near Wilson Park. 

The Sign Code Board of Appeals will take up a request Wednesday from Lamar Outdoor Advertising to convert an existing billboard at 1808 Mount Rushmore Road to digital advertisements that would continue to exceed city size requirements.

Group president Debra Jensen said the last thing Mount Rushmore Road needs is a billboard larger than what the city allows.

Click here to see the rest of the story.

I’m not sure which side of the billboard battle is right. Companies ought to be able to advertise their product or service, but they shouldn’t be allowed to create billboards so large and numerous that they block out the natural scenery. Perhaps the constant fight over billboards is exactly what’s needed. As long as both sides are always pushing against each other, they will probably meet somewhere in the middle.

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UPDATE, 1-8-10: According to a story from the Associated Press, there will be no digital billboard on Mount Rushmore Road. Here’s an excerpt from an AP story:

Mount Rushmore Road will not be getting a large electronic billboard.

The Rapid City Council this week denied Lamar Advertising’s request to install the 378-foot sign off the street.

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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