MyTown

Mount Rushmore closed!

Mount Rushmore

This is about the best view you can get of Mount Rushmore, since you are locked out of any closeups.

Mount Rushmore and tourists victims of political squabble

There is one good thing about the failure of Congress to reach any agreement on a budget.  Timing.

Imagine if congressional squabbling shut down the government at the height of the area’s summer tourism season.  Wind and Jewel caves shuttered.  Devils Tower and that “Shrine of Democracy” Mount Rushmore closed until further notice.

Mount Rushmore

You can’t even go to Mount Rushmore’s website. A notice comes up stating that the parks’ websites are not operating due to the government shutdown.

Still, it is embarrassing to have fall tourists come all the way to South Dakota only to see that closed sign.  Imagine if South Dakota slammed shut Custer State Park just in time for the buffalo roundup?  Our lawmakers and governor wouldn’t have a job come next election.

So South Dakota’s Governor Dennis Daugaard has proposed the state, which continues to be fiscally and politically responsible, take over the monument … at least until or if Congress ever gets its act together.

The governor sent a letter to the director of the National Park Service offering state personnel and resources to keep Mount Rushmore open.  “Mount Rushmore is a national treasure and is a special location for South Dakotans and citizens across the country,” Daugaard said in the letter. “I am confident state government could work with the federal government and private vendors to securely and competently manage Mount Rushmore during a federal shutdown.”

The governor is willing to raise private funds to pay for the lighting of the memorial and use state personnel to provide security. The visitor center would not be open for operations, but the concessions and gift shop would remain open.

About Jack Siebold

Jack Siebold began his journalism career in 1973 as a sports reporter for a weekly military newspaper at Keesler AFB, Miss. This was followed by a stint as a reporter at another military paper in Texas; then jobs as a weekly newspaper editor in Turkey, Italy and England. Jack finally landed in South Dakota to finish his military journalism career at Ellsworth AFB. Jack shifted to broadcast news when he retired from the military in 1993 and was hired by KOTA TV News as the assignment editor. In 19 years with KOTA, Jack was the assignment editor, general assignment reporter, senior reporter, a producer and finally assistant news director before retiring in 2012. After a short retirement (spent working at Black Hills Harley-Davidson due to his love of motorcycles) Jack returned to KOTA as the online media specialist for MyTown. Jack’s journalism honors include two awards from the Associated Press for investigative reporting and a documentary series. During his military career, he earned 13 awards for editorial, news and sports writing; photojournalism and newspaper management. During the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), Jack was assigned to the Central Command public affairs staff where he helped develop plans, policies and procedures as well as providing guidance for public affairs officers in the Persian Gulf Theater. Jack’s military honors include the Bronze Star for service in the Persian Gulf War; two Meritorious Service Medals, three Commendation Medals, Achievement Medal, Liberation of Kuwait Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, and two National Defense Medals; the Air Force Public Affairs Outstanding Senior NCO for 1992. Jack and his wife Margaret (a Rapid City special education teacher) spend as much time as they can on their Harley, on the open road.

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