Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain National Park Re-opening to Visitors

Sunday, October 13 2013 21:26   Other NPs
Two more Western states have reached agreements with the Department of the Interior to open National Park Service sites that provide important jobs and tourist revenue to their local economies.

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado opened to the public on Saturday, Oct. 12, while Mount Rushmore in South Dakota will open Monday morning, Oct. 14, 2013, just in time for Columbus day.

mount_rushmoreColorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced on Friday that his state pay for the park to stay open as long as the federal government is shut down. It will cost $40,300 a day to pay for U.S. National Park Service employees to operate the park.

"This reopening is critical to ongoing recovery efforts after last month's flooding," Hickenlooper said. "Trail Ridge Road provides a vital access point to Estes Park. Plus, the reopening of the park will help businesses in the area that have suffered a one-two punch after the flooding and federal government shutdown."

The state will initially use money from the Colorado Tourism Office to operate the park and will seek reimbursement from the federal government. Fees will still be charged and collected and the park will be on normal operating hours.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced also on Friday that his state would pay to re-open Mount Rushmore for the duration of the federal government shutdown.

"Visitors from around the world come to the Black Hills to see Mount Rushmore, and I'm pleased that our nation's Shrine to Democracy will be re-opened," said Gov. Daugaard. "I appreciate the willingness of the National Park Service to partner with us to operate the monument."

The National Park Service will charge the state $15,200 per day to operate the monument.

Daugaard said a number of economic and community partners from across South Dakota stepped forward to "buy a day" of operation of Mount Rushmore. They included the Mount Rushmore Society, Rapid City CVB / BID Board, Black Hills Central Reservations, West River Foundation, Lawrence & Schiller, Lantis Enterprises, Inc., Neiman Enterprises, Inc., J. Scull Construction Service, Inc., Avera Health, First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, MDU Resources, Sanford Health, ISIS Hospitality, Wall Drug, and one anonymous donor.

"Visitors from across the world will be able to enjoy Mount Rushmore because of the generosity of these partners," said Gov. Daugaard. "I am grateful for their unhesitating commitment."

Earlier last week, Utah and Arizona also negotiated deals with the Department of the Interior to open park sites. Utah arranged to have eight National Park Sites to open, while Arizona arranged to have Grand Canyon National Park opened for the public.


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