Grounded! Are Helicopter Tours of Mount Rushmore Ending?
Every South Dakotan knows that Mount Rushmore is one of the top tourist destinations on the planet, but, starting in 2024, visitors to the world-renowned National Monument will have less access to a unique way of viewing the faces.
Dakota News Now is reporting that fewer helicopter tours of Mount Rushmore and the Badlands will be offered to the public beginning next year. The reason why is new regulations being put into effect by the National Park Air Tour Management Act.
Damn! Doesn't it seem like there's always somebody trying to ruin all of our fun these days?
According to Dakota News Now, the act is intended to protect the serenity around these monuments.
Mark Schlaefli, owner and president of Rushmore Helicopters Inc. said, “They started with a scoping letter that came out in the form of a newsletter for the parks listing all of the alternatives that they were supposed to evaluate. And of course, mentioned that their preferred was to eliminate everything and that’s where they went."
Tour businesses like Rushmore Helicopters Inc. are more than a little worried about the new regulations being put in place.
Dakota News Now reports that Rushmore Helicopters recently headed to Washington D.C. to voice their concerns about the matter.
Schlaefli claims that his helicopter tours are one of the least impactful forms of tourism in the area. He plans to continue to work with the parks and residents to help find a lasting solution to the problem.
If the decision is not reversed, he plans to look for alternative routes.
According to Dakota News Now, Rushmore Helicopters Inc. stands to lose almost $4 million by not having these flights available to the public.
Source: Dakota News Now
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