Smaller Black Hills attractions fight for visitors during - KOTA Territory News

Smaller Black Hills attractions fight for visitors during shutdown

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A trip to South Dakota planned in advance, ruined by the government shutdown. "We're on our honeymoon and we came out to see the different monuments and such but we just made the best of it. Cause what are you going to do?" said Leila Rotz. 

With hotspots like Mount Rushmore and Jewel Cave closed to visitors, Rotz and her new husband had to go with a backup plan. "Places that are open longer and not exactly in the main tourist season," said Rotz. "So we're thankful there are places open and ready to share with us."

On the new list was Rushmore Cave. Owner Tom Hagen says at first he thought he would get more people because his chief competitors Wind and Jewel Caves were out of the picture. But then realized with Mount Rushmore closed, people aren't as likely to visit. "Having a lion's share doesn't mean much if there's not people to have a lion's share of," said Hagen.

He says traffic is slow because of the shutdown and it's not just his cave that is being hurt. "Smaller businesses than us, larger businesses than us, bed and breakfasts, hotels, bars, eating establishments - everyone is going to take a hit," said Hagen. 

But that hasn't stopped Hagen from trying to let people know Rushmore Cave is open. "Used our local social media to let people know that we're not part of the furlough. We're a private organization and we're welcoming and you can come see us whenever you'd like," said Hagen. 

Which was appreciated by Rotz. "I'm so glad things like this are open and they are so welcoming and, you know, ready for their guests," said Rotz. 

 

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