Amid growing complaints, government unblocks view of Mount Rushmore

2013-10-09T19:30:00Z 2013-10-10T13:26:07Z Amid growing complaints, government unblocks view of Mount RushmoreDaniel Simmons-Ritchie Journal staff Rapid City Journal
October 09, 2013 7:30 pm  • 

Amid growing complaints that the National Park Service is intentionally blocking viewing areas of Mount Rushmore, the federal agency said Wednesday that it would reopen a pull-out area to visitors.

Tensions have been high in the Black Hills since the federal government partially closed last week, forcing the region's iconic landmark to shutdown.

But hundreds of tourists complained that not only was Mount Rushmore's visitor center closed, it appeared that rangers were intentionally placing cones along the highway to stop drivers from pulling over to take photos of the monument.

"It just seems like it's over the top," said Tom Hagen, owner-operator of Rushmore Cave, who fielded a barrage of complaints last week from tourists. "Why wouldn't you let someone pull over and take a picture?"

But the National Park Service said Wednesday that it had never intended to ruin anyone's view of Mount Rushmore.

"None of that is correct," said Patricia Trap, the deputy director of the agency's Midwest region.

Trap said that because the agency had only a limited number of rangers available during the shutdown, it had rationed them to maintain security. She said some pull-outs had been blocked with cones because there weren't enough rangers to monitor those areas.

Trap said the agency was now reopening a pull-out area that it believed had stirred the bulk of controversy — unofficially called "profile pull-out" — that offers a popular side-on view of the monument.

Trap said it was reopening the area over concerns about public safety: Illegal parking was becoming an issue. In addition, at least one driver, in protest, had driven over the cones.

She added that the agency had figured out a way to rearrange its rangers while still maintaining security, helped in part by state highway officers.

"I just want to reiterate that we very much appreciate our continued working relationship with the State of South Dakota," she said.

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(15) Comments

  1. Celtgunn
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    Celtgunn - October 14, 2013 1:02 am
    Feh, I live 40 minutes from the Great Faces, Please Ms. Trapp, go back home and leave it be. Highly offended when I saw a vet with Mt. Rushmore used as a meme for Obama, Biden, Pelosi and I can't recall what the fourth face was. Mt. buttmore was the title, only using more offensive wording.

    Government needs to get off their keester and stop being the south end of a north bound mule.
  2. BH
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    BH - October 11, 2013 8:00 am
    OK I am glad that they have pulled up the cones but I have to state the obvious here.... The highway where the "profile pullout' is located is a STATE highway. State highway 244. Setting up closres on it without state authorization was wrong anyway. Why didn't our state Department of Transportation take down the cones themselves? Seems to me that this move was illegal anyway!
  3. truthsense
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    truthsense - October 10, 2013 8:46 pm
    I know there are still a few good men and women working in this twisted government but the number one requirement for government employment seems to be to have no qualms about lying to the public. And all of this because of a President pitching a temper tantrum because we won't let him be Dictator In Chief.
  4. Buldog
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    Buldog - October 10, 2013 7:52 pm
    rudedog, your misery meter must be about peaked out.
  5. Bull
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    Bull - October 10, 2013 3:43 pm
    Patricia Trap and a large number of congress members belong in the unemployment line. Using an excuse that not enough rangers were around to patrol the viewing areas is simply a lie. It is time we fire some people in this country for abuse of power and failing to follow the legislative process as it was designed.
  6. devils advocate
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    devils advocate - October 10, 2013 9:34 am
    Closing the mountain during a shutdown...ok I get it. Closing pull off areas on the sides of the road so you cant even view it or take pics? Ridiculous.

    Also I don't think they charge to see the mountain...just charge for parking. Neat little trick there....
  7. raisinbran
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    raisinbran - October 10, 2013 9:21 am
    Good job to the NPS for considering the complaints from the visitors. Most of us know that if it were up to the employees at Mount Rushmore, the park would be open to visitors. You are only doing what you are required to do. None of you enjoy keeping the public out. The profile parking lot is a beautiful place to stop and to safely get off the roadway. Thank you for opening it!
  8. Rhudedog
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    Rhudedog - October 10, 2013 9:18 am
    We all know it costs money to look at Mt Rushmore so thanks Obama for keeping the costs down!
  9. Cinder
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    Cinder - October 10, 2013 8:57 am
    I agree 100%. I have been going to Mt. Rushmore for almost 50 years and I don't recall ever seeing a Ranger patrolling those spots. Attempting to cover your bad judgement with a string of fibs will not excuse that bad judgement Ms. Trap. Get all of the cones removed. You have adequate security without keeping the very people who pay your wages, off of the roads they paid for, to view the monument they support with their tax dollars.
  10. quail
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    quail - October 10, 2013 7:38 am
    Having stopped at the profile pull-out every time I've visited the Faces in my 60+ years (especially since they broke their covenant with Borglum and started charging to visit), I've never seen a Ranger at that spot.............why now! I think we all know!
  11. stumper
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    stumper - October 10, 2013 5:22 am
    I drove that first day and every forest service employee looked like they were prison guards. 500 orange cones everywhere any there were even forest service employees telling people they couldn't stop and take pictures. What shame for people who drove hundreds of miles and others from other countries to not even be able to take pictures. They open the least pretty place because it is the furthest away.
  12. ScreamingEagle
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    ScreamingEagle - October 10, 2013 5:07 am
    This is another attempt by the Obama administration to make this situation as painful as possible. Government employees should be ashamed of their actions. We could cut half of them and make the other half do their job and all would be fine. This is their way of feeling important and powerful, Our national shrine is becoming a national joke.
  13. Jonnnnn
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    Jonnnnn - October 09, 2013 8:52 pm
    Consider it more likely than not that today's whiners, yesterday voted against their interests.
  14. Bluesky
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    Bluesky - October 09, 2013 8:41 pm
    ha ha
  15. Bluesky
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    Bluesky - October 09, 2013 8:41 pm
    Patricia Trap is fibbing through her teeth. It was an absolutely stupid move, now she thinks we're all stupid enough to believe that excuse. Mt. Rushmore needs to be run by the State of South Dakota. Send Ms. Trap and her staff back to DC.
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