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First Greenpeace, Now Motorcyclists Drawing A Bead On Mount Rushmore National Memorial


"First Greenpeace, now Sturgis. I tell you Abe, this is a rough summer." NPS photo by Ed Menard.

Well, after all the uproar over Greenpeace's recent visit to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, does anyone want to hear about thundering convoys of motorcyclists descending on the park?

No, we're not talking Hell's Angels. Rather, it's merely the spillover from the throngs of bikers who head to Sturgis, South Dakota, in early August for one of the summer's largest motorcycle gatherings.

With the 69th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally set for August 3-9, Mount Rushmore officials are bracing themselves for their own surge in visitation in the form of riders and their two- and three-wheel traffic.

“The staff at Mount Rushmore has worked hard preparing for and executing special events this summer. They continue their fine work preparing the Memorial for our rally visitors,” said Mount Rushmore Superintendent Gerard Baker. “As one of the premier destinations for rally participants and visitors, we are looking forward to another successful rally season.”

How does the memorial prepare for the bikers? Beginning Thursday crews will start placing traffic markers on the memorial grounds. Then, from August 1-7 you can expect to see a greater number of rangers at the entrance of the park to help direct increased traffic.

In addition to the added number of rangers, the memorial also will offer some special entertainment. For instance, Jasmine Pickner, a local Lakota hoop dancer, will perform the “People’s Hoop Dance” to highlight the Sturgis Mayor's Ride on August 3 from 11:00 – 11:45 A.M. on the Washington–side, top level, of the parking facility. Other ranger programs are scheduled throughout the Memorial during this time.

National Park Service facilities, including the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center, the historic Sculptor’s Studio, and the Indian Heritage Village will open at 8:00 a.m. Visitors are asked to please be patient and to expect delays as they arrive and depart the Memorial. Enhanced security measures will be in place for the safety and security of the Memorial and Park visitors.

General information about schedules can be found online at


What I want to know is what the NPS will be doing to keep the noise level down. Those bikes tend to be very loud and completely spoil the atmosphere of our National Parks.

The NPS makes such a fuss over helicopter noise at the Grand Canyon, when the bigger problem is the noise at ground level by open pipe motorcycles, diesel trucks and buses, and car alarms. Yet no action at all is taken against any of that.

This brutal monstrosity was conceived in noise. How many years of exploding dynamite, thundering pneumatic drills and the constant clamor of falling granite and earth removal equipment did the quiet of the Black Hills suffer under to create this grotesque monument to government worship? It is little more than a federally funded roadside attraction at this point anyway, so let the Harleys thunder away! Besides, leather clad bikers by the thousands are good for the economy, which is probably a lot more important to cash strapped South Dakotans than the noise level at some overlook where Boobus Americanus can gawk at four dead politicians carved in granite.

I thought there wasn't supposed to be name calling on this site... If you don't like a site within the NPS, that's fine - you have that freedom. However, stereotyping every person who visits the site shows a lack of maturity and respect.

The thin-skinnedness (my new word) of many of the contributors to this forum has become somewhat ridiculous. The term to which Anon took such offense has been around for quite some time (first employed by H.L. Mencken in the early 1920's and regularly used today by writers such as Fred Reed, Lew Rockwell and Butler Shaffer) and is meant merely to connote the atmosphere or social milieu in which this particular attraction exists. Sort of like an author describing the scene at a carnival or freak show.

No offense was intended and therefore no apology is forthcoming.

I enjoy this forum very much...however the self-serving diatribe coming for some of the posters is ridiculous. Beamis your causes and beliefs have merit and you are obviously educated and articulate. Your method of making your points however is offensive although I am sure that in your zealousness you feel it is justified. I believe in many of the causes you have opined on this forum, yet even having said that I am turned off by your postings. Normally I just ignore...probably should have here too.

Peace to you brother and please be aware that the freedoms that you do enjoy did not come overused cliche certainly but somehow seems appropriate here.

Thanks Beamis! The thin-skinnedness has been something of an issue, however, also an attraction with free admission, like a moth to flame, rubber neckers to accidents, and whiners to the NPT comments section, there is always somebody with a complaint about some "other" user group trying to make use of their taxed contribution to relaxation.

Sticks and stones.... (insert rolling eyes here).....

OK, folks, this is the point where the moderator wades in to say that the give and take is indeed getting a bit out of control. As the saying goes, "it's not what you say, but how you say it." There are some good, and certainly diverse, viewpoints being expressed. However, I must agree that some of them are being delivered with the subtlety of a sledge hammer.

From the very start of the Traveler four years ago the idea was to encourage discussion and debate of issues across the National Park System. But, and this is the big but, that discussion has to be constructive and delivered with a measure of respect. We don't expect everyone to agree with another's point of view. But that's no reason to come across as condescending or outright mean.

As several folks have noted, the Traveler has a Code of Conduct that is fairly minimal in its expectations. Can we monitor each and every comment that comes through the system? No. The workload around here is pretty hefty. But we can require everyone to create an account in order to comment, or even turn off comments. Do we want to do that? No.

So, be nice and play well with others, OK?

Getting back on point. Mt. Rushmore is not Sequoia or Muir Woods. So in my view Harleys howling by enormous granite images of dead presidents is not such a sacrilege in the grand scheme of things. This place is set up as a roadside attraction and this sort of use does not seem out of whack with its intended purpose.

Peace to you brother and please be aware that the freedoms that you do enjoy did not come overused cliche certainly but somehow seems appropriate here.

You're right. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be paying for the follies of today. A point well taken Mr. Cameron.

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