The Mount Rushmore Society, which operates the parking concession at Mount Rushmore National Memorial through Presidential Parking Inc., reports a 1.9% increase in total vehicles at the park during the organization’s fiscal year (ending September, 2010). This reflects a continual increase in visitation, as 2009 saw an even larger increase of 11% in total vehicles over 2008.
For 2010, vehicles from South Dakota account for 12.9% of the visitation, with Minnesota at 7.9%, Colorado at 7.8% and California at 4.85%. Since 2006, the same four states have remained in the top four spots for vehicles parking at the Memorial. Last year, a vehicle from every state in the union and Canada visited the park.
The Mount Rushmore Society has operated the parking concession since 1997, when the parking garage was built by a 17 million dollar loan held by the organization and its board of directors. The new parking garage increased visitor parking spots from 400 to 1160. To repay the loan and provide maintenance for the structure, a parking fee has been accessed for each vehicle. The annual parking fee for 2011 will be $11 and can be purchased at the entrance gate at Mount Rushmore or at the Society office at 711 North Creek Dr. in the First Interstate Bank building in Rapid City.
The Mount Rushmore Society is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion and enhancement of Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the values it represents through a partnership with the National Park Service.
Media Note: Photo courtesy South Dakota Office of Tourism, www.travelsd.com