submitted by Black Hills Badlands & Lakes
Nearly two weeks after the federal government shutdown first went into effect, thereby forcing national parks across the US to close, partners within South Dakota are uniting their resources to re-open the state's top tourist attraction.
For a state that has come to depend on the tourist revenue generated by its national parks and monuments, the federal government shutdown could have a significant impact on the state's second-largest industry.
In an attempt to heed these concerns, on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 SD Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced that he had reached an agreement with the National Park Service to re-open Mt. Rushmore National Monument this morning, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, at 8 a.m. MDT.
Per the agreement, the National Park Service will charge the state $15,200 per day to operate
the monument. As of Friday, more than a dozen local businesses and one anonymous donor had each offered to "buy a day" of operation at Mount Rushmore.
The re-opening is a temporary solution that should lessen the pain of the shutdown on local
economies, particularly those of the Black Hills, many of which are still grappling to recover from a devastating blizzard that struck the region on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013.
Despite drizzling rain, fog and a forecast with the potential for more snow on the way, tourists
began trickling into the monument parking lot as early at 7:25 a.m. Monday morning to take
advantage of the closer views.