The Black Hills Travel Blog

Mount Rushmore for the next 30 years

By • Dec 31st, 2008 • Category: Culture

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Mount Rushmore National Memorial has launched the long process of creating a new General Management Plan for the 1,200-acre park. Although that sounds like a big bureaucratic process – and there is a lot of that – it is a chance for people to help shape the future of the park.

If you’ve been to Mount Rushmore, or if you ever plan to go, you might check out the National Park Service website devoted to the Rushmore’s GMP.

“This year we will begin to develop a new General Management Plan to set long-term directions for the overall management and development of the memorial for the next 15 to 20 years,” Superintendent Gerard Baker said in a letter posted on the site. “The new plan will help us make decisions on the direction of resource management, visitor use and interpretation, and facilities management.”

There has been a lot of discussion lately about some of the historical initiatives that have been launch. The new superintendent has made a point of bringing more Native American perspective to the memorial’s interpretive exhibits. And there’s been some discussion about opening up more hiking and recreation within the memorial boundaries.

I’m personally intrigued by the hiking trail proposal. There are some very interesting views of Mount Rushmore, and some very nice woods, around the memorial. I could see Mount Rushmore becoming a day-long day trip for locals and visitors alike.

Baker noted that the last time Rushmore had a new General Management Plan was 1980. And if you’ve been to the memorial from time to time over the years, you know how much the place has changed since 1980.

Now, try to think about what it will be like in 2040. That’s the task for Gerard Baker and the National Park Service.

About the Author

is an on-again, off-again Black Hills resident since 1978. The Aberdeen native hit the road after high school, building houses in Boulder, working oil rigs on Colorado's Western Slope, delivering cars in California. In Wyoming and Idaho, he worked as a newspaper journalist. But the Black Hills kept luring him back. For 18 years, he wrote for the Rapid City Journal. The job gave him a chance to see the Hills from atop Mount Rushmore and the bottom of the Homestake Mine. Whenever possible, Dan grabs his dog Kody and heads to the Hills. These days, he's perfecting the art of low-impact backpacking: hike two hours to a scenic spot, break out the wine, cook up the pasta, watch the sunset and fall asleep under the stars.
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