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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


Motorcycles are loud and disrupting but I mostly fear for the lives of the bikers. Motorcycles are dangerous even if you happen to be an excellent driver. If there is some other person who can't drive out there and they happen to hit a biker, there is nothing between that person and the front end of a SUV or other vehicle. Although I really hate motorcycles, I do hope that all the bikers come out of this ok as with all the law enforcement. I know every year there happen to be some major issues between biker gangs.

I do want to say one redeeming thing about the Hell's Angels. When the DC Sniper attacks were occuring, the HA volunteered to pump gas for people who were too scared to get out of their cars.

Ranger Holly

Does anyone want to hear about thundering convoys of motorcyclists descending on the park?

No. :-(


Beamis was talking about Mt. Rushmore, not Yellowstone.

Personally, I don't like cars, Harleys, helicopters (speaking of which, when are you going to cover the Crater Lake helicopter story, NPT? If you need a contribution...), RVs, generators, construction equipment, snowplows, snowmobiles, or any other mechanical object that makes loud noise in more "natural" national parks.

But as Beamis pointed out, there's not much natural about Mt. Rushmore including its proximity to the highway, its parking garages, and its side-show, tourist-trap atmosphere.

Thank you, and have a pleasant day.

Give us a break Beamis. I went to Yellowstone a few years ago and it was ridiculous with the pseudo Hells Angels roaring through the park on their way to Sturgis.

Devils Tower N.M. get it's share of bikers during Sturgis also.

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.

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?

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).....

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