Feds reject Daugaard offer to keep Mount Rushmore open in a government shutdown

2011-04-08T17:00:00Z 2011-04-08T22:43:47Z Feds reject Daugaard offer to keep Mount Rushmore open in a government shutdownDavid Montgomery Journal staff Rapid City Journal
April 08, 2011 5:00 pm  • 

The National Parks Service rejected a last-minute offer from Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Friday to use state resources to keep Mount Rushmore National Memorial open if the federal government were to shut down.

Daugaard said Mount Rushmore is too important -- both economically and symbolically -- to close.

Before the budget deal was announced late Friday night, Dusty Johnson, Daugaard's chief of staff, said Daugaard didn't think a closure was acceptable.

"It's America's shrine to democracy," Johnson said.

But the National Park Service said it had rejected Daugaard's offer.

"We thank the governor for his offer and appreciate his support for the national parks," Kendra Barkoff, press secretary for the Department of the Interior, said in an email to the Rapid City Journal in response to an enquiry about whether the federal government would accept the state's offer. "Unfortunately, if Congress is not able to reach agreement and the federal government is shut down, all national parks would have to be closed."

Although Barkoff sent her statement to the Rapid City Journal, Johnson said the state hadn't received an official response as of 5 p.m. Friday.

"I don't know that it comes as a huge surprise, but it is a huge disappointment," Johnson said. "It seems like an area where intergovernmental cooperation would be able to provide a win-win. It's too bad the federal government doesn't see it that way."

Daugaard's offer to the National Park Service would have kept most of the memorial's functions open.

Under the governor's offer, state law enforcement officers would have provided security, which Johnson said would be the primary expense for the state. Parking, concessions and the gift shop, which are run by third parties, would remain open. The visitor center would be closed.

Lighting and some other expenses would be paid for by private donations.

Johnson said the cost to the state would have been minimal.

"Our plan would minimize most of the costs because we would use existing state law enforcement, use private funds to light the memorial at night and would use existing third party relationships to run most other amenities at the memorial," he said. "In the short term, we're confident that the financial impact would be very modest on the expense side."

Johnson said the economic impact of closing the tourist attraction would far outweigh the cost to the state of keeping the memorial open.

Daugaard's offer was prompted in part by the National Park Service's request for the state to close down S.D. Highway 224, which runs in front of the monument.

The governor's offer to keep Mount Rushmore open also included a rejection of that request.

"I understand that because of the possible federal government shutdown, you will likely not be able to keep Mount Rushmore open to the public and would prefer to limit access to that area," Daugaard wrote in his letter to National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. "I appreciate your request and your interest in the highway, but I must respectfully decline."

Johnson said, "Citizens should still be able to enjoy and appreciate Mount Rushmore, even if it's still not open for business."

Contact David Montgomery at 394-8329 or david.montgomery@rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(26) Comments

  1. ZAR
    Report Abuse
    ZAR - April 12, 2011 1:06 pm
    OneMans WROTE" I believe it was a great thing the Governor did by offering state help to the Federal government to keep the SHRINE OF DEMOCRACY open through what likely would have been a short term.
    Anyone who thinks it would have been acceptable to shut down the SHRINE OF DEMOCRACY shoould find another country to live in.

    I have a quick question for ya there OMO, Do you think that a govt. shutdown is a good thing in any way shape or form? I heard the rants from tea-partiers on capitol of "SHUT IT DOWN, SHUT IT DOWN, and over what ? spending ? nope, womens health issues. That sir is unacceptable!!
  2. Veritas
    Report Abuse
    Veritas - April 09, 2011 12:07 pm
    From the Journal article “No shutdown: Congress, president reach deal;” Reid, Obama and Boehner all agreed a shutdown posed risks to an economy still recovering from the worst recession in decades.

    It’s been reported tourism generated $265 million in state and local taxes last year and that without tourism each household would pay about $828 more in taxes.

    Governor Daugaard was correct in attempting to keep Mount Rushmore open.
  3. dustandbud
    Report Abuse
    dustandbud - April 09, 2011 9:58 am
    Jonnnn said: "Imagine what Mount Rushmore would look like if it was run by South Dakota - the place would be covered with billboards, there would be electronic billboards above, below, and to the sides of the carving. The visitor center would be littered with video lottery machines. Next to the information kiosk would be the blackjack tables. There would be daily reenactments of colonists gunning down Redcoats and Indians."

    don't forget the motorcycle parking only on the avenue of flags
  4. Factsonly
    Report Abuse
    Factsonly - April 09, 2011 8:57 am
    The State of South Dakota is claiming it is lacking funds and Pennington County is no better off. But all of a sudden the State has funds for security and to assist the Park Service with an operation to keep a major tourist draw open using state public funding -- lets get to the bottom of where all the tax revenues (increasing every year) are going that hard-working South Dakotans must pay to keep local and state agencies funded. The threat of a government shut-down wasted millions of tax payer dollars while federal employees across the country prepared to close offices and facilities to include Mount Rushmore. It looks like thousands of state dollars were wasted on Friday while state and local governments placed calls, stressed staffers, sent letters for the purpose of keeping Mount Rushmore open. Our federal and state governments must begin to focus on those issues that make a difference!
  5. OneMansOpinion
    Report Abuse
    OneMansOpinion - April 09, 2011 8:43 am
    After starting to read these self-serving, name calling, disrrespectful, offensive(to me) comments I feel that the RCJ had better in the interest of fair, unbiased (yeah right) coverage and comments print my opinion.
    I believe it was a great thing the Governor did by offering state help to the Federal government to keep the SHRINE OF DEMOCRACY open through what likely would have been a short term.
    Anyone who thinks it would have been acceptable to shut down the SHRINE OF DEMOCRACY shoould find another country to live in.
  6. rchristo
    Report Abuse
    rchristo - April 09, 2011 7:23 am
    Have you considered selling naming rights? Some corporation would offer big bucks for that.
  7. McGehee
    Report Abuse
    McGehee - April 09, 2011 7:21 am
    Of course the feds weren't going to let the monument be kept open. That would mitigate the PR impact of the shutdown, which the administration thought would increase public support for its position. The fact South Dakota's governor is a Republican would make it doubly impossible to make a deal.

    They don't call it "the Washington Monument strategy" for nothing.
  8. thirt4
    Report Abuse
    thirt4 - April 09, 2011 1:12 am
    My sides are hurting from all the laughter some of these
    comments brought me. There are many however that are
    sensible and right on the mark.
    I suppose some of you truly believe the government shut
    down is Bush’s fault I suspect. Guess what? After over 2
    years, it is time that the Dems step up to the plate and take
    the blame since they were in charge of both sides of the
    Congress for the past 2 years! Now the only request is to cut $60,000,000,000.00 (billion) from a $14,000,000,000,000.00 (trillion)debt. Less than a drop in the proverbial bucket it seems to me. Divide the smaller of the two into the larger and it will go into it, 233.333333 times! That's why I think it is a drop in the bucket of the daily wasting that is going on at our expense.
    As for closing Mount Rushmore, what are the feds going
    to do? Take it indoors so nobody can see it? Come on, it
    will be there for all to see, they will just have to see it from the road. It doesn’t get any better or worse if you are standing at the visitors center. The only difference is that you will not have to pay the private parking lot attendant the big bucks to park and walk.
    As was mentioned, this occurs every few years or so. The
    Congress rattles their little sabers and try to get those who
    are gullible into believing that the world will end or the sky
    is falling. Nope. Not gonna happen.
    This is their way (both parties) to make us believe that they
    are really working while they are there instead of wasting our money.
    The military is funded by separate appropriations that they
    cannot shut off, Social Security and Medicare, the same
    thing.
    There will be very little impact on the function of our government employees overall. I know, I lived through this while working many, many years for the gubbermint. Never missed any paychecks or any meals either. Even made all my house payments on time too.
  9. tardman
    Report Abuse
    tardman - April 08, 2011 11:54 pm
    "How would that be legal? Besides I thought that we were too short of money in the state budget to afford education and medical care for the poor"

    That was my comment I was going to make... I'm glad the state prioritizes things over people.
  10. Old Roy
    Report Abuse
    Old Roy - April 08, 2011 8:26 pm
    Thank you for stepping up Governor! There is nothing that prevents the feds from allowing the state to operate Mount Rushmore. The feds can't get their act together so they should let the state do it. The fed's refusal for state assistance defies logic and common sense. This proves the dems are playing politics.
  11. Veritas
    Report Abuse
    Veritas - April 08, 2011 7:58 pm
    In case the federal government does shutdown, Governor Daugaard was attempting to soften the economic jolt to the state.

    Accolades go out to the governor.
  12. kneedragger
    Report Abuse
    kneedragger - April 08, 2011 7:01 pm
    Those of you so concerned about education: It is not against the law to educate yourself or your family, quit relying on the government to make decisions for you. I applaud the governor for asking to step in and keep it open for tourist. those of you that are so negative probably dont know that our economy is not based on only american citizens, European, Asian and even Canadians come to this state to see Mt. Rushmore. Look at the currency exchange rates, the Euro and Canadian are the strongest they have been vs. the dollar and it would be nice to have that money spent here.
  13. Redstater
    Report Abuse
    Redstater - April 08, 2011 6:31 pm

    Let them close it, all they do is charge you for parking anyway.
    Besides it belongs to us anyway, remember?
  14. Infidel
    Report Abuse
    Infidel - April 08, 2011 5:15 pm
    Doogood obviously doesn't realize that most of that "state" money consists of federal subsidies anyway...
  15. Infidel
    Report Abuse
    Infidel - April 08, 2011 5:12 pm
    I say if we are going to shut down the government, then shut it down completely. No Congress, no military, no air traffic controllers, no weather forecasters, no tornado warnings, no border patrol, no Veterans Administration, no federal police or firefighters protecting hundreds of millions of acres, no farm aid, no social security...nothing. Americans need to learn that their comfy way of life depends on the things they pretend to hate. Unfortunately, one day of this and we'd have ten million dead citizens and be the new province of China...
  16. Selly
    Report Abuse
    Selly - April 08, 2011 4:32 pm
    I say shut-down the "Shrine of Democracy" if our government shuts down, it will reflect what's going on with our political system. Maybe then we can actually quit being Republicans, Democrats, Independents & the Tea Party - and we can get back to all of us being Americans and fighting for a better future for all of us instead of fighting for a future that is only bright for the richest and most powerful individuals who don't feel the need to share! This may seem old fashioned of me but that's what we need. We need to get back to the basics and stop this "me, me, me, me, me" attitude and start helping out each other. Only then will we all truly be happy, prosperous and the nation we SHOULD be!
  17. jacie
    Report Abuse
    jacie - April 08, 2011 4:31 pm
    "The governor has no input whatsoever when it comes to federal issues, MT. Rushmore is a national park, it doesn't belong to South Dakota, or should I say the tourism industry. Waht a joke this guy has become!" ZAR

    Apparently he doesn't think he has no input. It's the proverbial 'whose ox is being gored?'; some special interests are more important than others. Focus on education and Elders Governor, 'dead presidents' aren't going anywhere and this whole fiasco will be settled before the tourist season. Gotta love obstructionist politics.
  18. happyguy
    Report Abuse
    happyguy - April 08, 2011 4:25 pm
    Agreed, Granny, State of South Dakota funds need to be used for things inportant to SD Citizens. Education, social services, our own protection. Even if the gates at Rushmore were closed and the water shut off to save money, I could drive by it on the highway and get a warm,fuzzy,patriotic feeling,as could tourists who brave the high gas prices to venture here on a summer vacation.
    I know this will spark a firestorm of "You must hate America" posts...but in the grand scheme of life and survival, Mt Rushmore staying open does not matter,save a few minimum wage summer jobs in Keystone, it is actually just a high level tourist attraction itself.
    Prioritize what is truely important, Mr Gov sir.
  19. no news is no news
    Report Abuse
    no news is no news - April 08, 2011 4:14 pm
    I don't know which is funnier, the Park Service request to close the road, or the Governors request to keep the monument open. Try to keep a sense of humor throughout all this insanity. but our local economy and the monuments security are both serious issues.
  20. West River
    Report Abuse
    West River - April 08, 2011 4:14 pm
    Who is trying to fool who here?

    The Federal Goverment will not turn over Mt. Rushmore to State to run. Even if the President wanted to keep it open its just too late in the game.

    I suppose the Governor wants us to believe that since he offered no one should hold the Tea Party Republicans accountable for the damage they cause.

    I think the Governor is blowing a lot of smoke on this one so that he and the Republicans have someone to blame but not them.
  21. Report Abuse
    - April 08, 2011 4:12 pm
    "I thought that we were too short of money in the state budget to afford education and medical care for the poor."

    Oh this is MUCH more important than any of those programs. I'm sure that he would willingly dip into the State reserves for this critical purpose. You're right, ZAR, this guy has become a joke - a very BAD joke.
  22. Jonnnn
    Report Abuse
    Jonnnn - April 08, 2011 4:11 pm
    Imagine what Mount Rushmore would look like if it was run by South Dakota - the place would be covered with billboards, there would be electronic billboards above, below, and to the sides of the carving. The visitor center would be littered with video lottery machines. Next to the information kiosk would be the blackjack tables. There would be daily reenactments of colonists gunning down Redcoats and Indians.
  23. Jonnnn
    Report Abuse
    Jonnnn - April 08, 2011 4:04 pm
    Evidently Governor Disregard skipped those pesty law school classes on "jurisdiction". Governor Disregard and SD have NOem, Thune, and their teaparty fools to thank for virtually shutting down SD's tourism industry, flood aid, and the consumer spending by the 8,000 South Dakotan's employed by the federal government.
  24. bman123
    Report Abuse
    bman123 - April 08, 2011 3:49 pm
    The Shrine is far from being closed down due to money. There's large funds set aside as well as corporate sponsors like BHP which could waive some "monthly" expenses. This is just a circus which happens every 10 or so years. I remember the one in 1995. At worst, a few displays would be closed and some park enforcement writing a few less speeding tickets.
  25. Granny
    Report Abuse
    Granny - April 08, 2011 3:24 pm
    How would that be legal? Besides I thought that we were too short of money in the state budget to afford education and medical care for the poor.
  26. ZAR
    Report Abuse
    ZAR - April 08, 2011 3:16 pm
    "Because of the possible federal shutdown we're getting word that Mount Rushmore would not be open to the public," said Dusty Johnson, Daugaard's chief of staff. "Gov. Daugaard does not think that's acceptable. It's America's shrine to democracy."


    The governor has no input whatsoever when it comes to federal issues, MT. Rushmore is a national park, it doesn't belong to South Dakota, or should I say the tourism industry. Waht a joke this guy has become!
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Activate subscription button gif

Deals, Offers and Events

Poll

Loading…

Fur-Ever Wild was just approved to keep wolf cubs and fox kits at a wildlife education center in Deadwood. Do you agree with the South Dakota Animal Industry Board's ruling?

View Results

Recent Blog Posts

IMBIZZY

IMBIZZY

IMBIZZY = I'm busy

15 hours ago(0)

Medicap precriptions now filled at The Medicine Shoppe

According to a news release from The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, 1304 Mt. Rushmore Road, prescriptions have been transferred from the Medicap Ph…

June 01, 2015 1:15 pm(0)

Permit sought for wind farm in Butte County

The state Public Utilities Commission this week received a permit application from Wind Quarry Operations LLC, based at Montrose, Colorado, fo…

June 01, 2015 8:31 am(0)

U THINK

U THINK

U THINK = You think?

May 29, 2015 8:29 am(0)

Static for Blue Jay Wireless

The state Public Utilities Commission provided an unusually cool reception Tuesday to an application by Blue Jay Wireless. The suburban Dallas…

May 27, 2015 8:06 am(0)