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 www.nps.gov/moru.