You are here

Greenpeace Activists Face Slew of Charges For Their Stunt At Mount Rushmore National Memorial


What changes will Greenpeace stunt bring to the National Park Service's law-enforcement ranks? Greenpeace photo.

A recent publicity stunt by Greenpeace activists at Mount Rushmore National Memorial has produced a slew of charges against the activists that could lock them up for quite a while and prove quite costly.

While authorities aren't publicly discussing exactly how the 11 activists evaded Mount Rushmore's security systems on July 8 when they reached the top of Mount Rushmore and then rappeled down to drape a banner calling for more action from the Obama administration on climate change alongside the chiseled face of President Abraham Lincoln, they weren't being bashful with the charges they brought against the activists.

A federal grand jury has returned a four-count indictment charging eleven people and Greenpeace, Inc., a California corporation, with three or more misdemeanor offenses each relating to a July 8th incident in which a protest banner was unfurled on the mountain. The charges against Greenpeace and the eleven include one count of conspiracy to climb Mount Rushmore as prohibited by law. The indictment contains further specific allegations concerning the conspiracy charge which include the following:

Greenpeace provided planning and training for the individual co-conspirators.

Greenpeace caused the individual co-conspirators and their climbing, video, and photographic equipment to be transported to Rapid City, South Dakota, in preparation for climbing Mount Rushmore.

Greenpeace hired a helicopter to carry its members, agents and employees in order to allow them to observe, photograph and record the actions of individuals who were climbing Mount Rushmore on July 8th

As part of the conspiracy, certain individuals attempted to impede responding law enforcement officers by placing locks on security gates as well as by chaining themselves to areas where it would be difficult or impossible for responding officers to get around the individuals without risk of personal injury.

Greenpeace, Inc., is also charged with the following offenses:

Aiding and abetting eleven individuals trespassing in a national park by entering an area not open to the public without permission.

Aiding and abetting nine individuals with climbing Mount Rushmore as prohibited by law.

Aiding and abetting six individuals with intentionally interfering with a government employee or officer engaged in an official duty.

Charges against the eleven participants included conspiracy, trespass, illegally climbing the mountain and abetting others in these offenses. The maximum penalty for each of the four counts against Greenpeace is a $10,000 fine and restitution. The maximum penalty for each count naming an individual is six months’ imprisonment, a $5,000 fine and restitution. The investigation is being conducted by the Mount Rushmore rangers and by special agents of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Mark Vargo.

While how the activists deal with the charges remains to be seen, so too will how the National Park Service's security arm responds to the success of their protest. Supposedly Mount Rushmore is home to one of the more sizable and better equipped law-enforcement contingents found across the National Park System.


I can't say how I feel about what they did - but I have to say I wonder if it was worth it cuz this seems like it got barely any publicity.

Hope they get the max.

Hope all 11 knuckleheads get the max allowed by law.Enough is enough plus what makes them think they are right!

Throw the book at these clowns

What will be accomplished by prosecuting people who did not damage anything? If we send them to prison, we pay to feed, guard and entertain them. If we fine them, we will probably spend more money trying to collect it than we actually collect.
We should actually thank them. They provided a service to the country by showing how lax our security is. Of course, in a real national park, security is not that big an issue. Rushmore, being a park visited by people who eat ice cream a bucket at a time, probably needs more security than others. That being the case, security failed and we are fortunate to get a wake up call without any damage being done.

Wow...Just amazing logic! How about the damage that was potential to themselves, the environment, responding police personnel and NPS people as well as blatant disregard for the law and the reasons for the law. Arrogance like this deserves the MAX penalty!

I'm going to play Devil's advocate on this one and wonder what the big deal is. I can see why they chose Mt. Rushmore because these were great presidents. They demonstrated on a monument dedicated to the men (well 2 out of 4) that help give us the freedom to demonstrate and voice our opinion. Yes it was against the law and I have the utmost respect for the law (ok...I speed a wee bit) but I don't think it's as big a deal as people are making it out to be.

And honestly I don't think this is as damaging as some of the things the NPS does to the monument. Just 2 months before this they were practicing search and rescue techniques off of Jefferson's forehead. I honestly think that people rappling up and down the monument with ropes and a litter is much more damaging than a sign.

Ranger Holly

RangerLady If its no big deal does that mean we can go out break the law as long as you feel no one is being harmed. I guess if someone had gotten hurt getting these Morons down its ok because two of the four Presidents gave them the right to demonstrate even if its breaking the law and endangers others! The reason the NPS was practicing live saving techiques is to save idiots like these from harming themselfs and others! By the way you wouldnt happen to belong to Green Peace you sure sound like one of them!

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide

Recent Forum Comments