The latest tourism score shows businesses in the Black Hills are having a great season. But the hot, dry weather has put a damper on revenue.
Some Black Hills business owners are reporting a strong May and June but a weak July. Conrad Rupert, owner of the Black Hills Maze says the weather is likely to blame given the number of wildfires across the region. He also says record high temperatures put a sizzle on his outdoor business.
"July we were down close to double digits from last year but May and June were up more or less double digits from last year," said Rupert. "So more or less I think we're going to see a teeter totter season."
Rupert says he believes indoor businesses, such as caves and museums profited the most from the high summer heat. The Black Hills Badlands and Lakes Association agrees.
"This July just a bit flat to last year but again our year overall strong," said Nort Johnson, President of The Black Hills Badlands and Lakes Association. "We're up over 8% over last year as an index score and we're looking forward to a pretty good Fall."
Traffic at Wind Cave decreased a bit this summer due to road closures during the Myrtle Fire. Meanwhile, Jewel Cave's traffic increased 100% during that time.