Government shutdown impacts local nonprofit

MT. RUSHMORE – The Mount Rushmore Society is a local Black Hills area nonprofit organization that is committed to supporting Mount Rushmore National Memorial since work on the sculpture began. The society is one of the nation’s largest and oldest National Park Service friends organizations and is credited for raising millions for facility improvements and promotional events.

As a nonprofit partner of the National Parks Service, government shutdowns directly impact the organizations to continue to provide those supporting services and funds.

Visitors to Mount Rushmore National Memorial are still able to enter the park, however, the Mount Rushmore Society Bookstores (a source for the nonprofit) is located inside government buildings at the park and therefore are closed. This means some nonprofit staff cannot work, in addition to National Park Service rangers. The bookstore sales provide funding for seasonal rangers and educational programs, a funding source that the Society describes as being severely impacted by the closure.

Nationwide, more than $1.6 million of revenue from retail sales and visitor programs have been lost through January 4, and will not be recovered, according to a Public Lands Alliance survey of nonprofit partners like the Society.

Additionally, more than 200 employees of these organizations have been laid off, furloughed, or compelled to accept leave without pay to date, creating unwarranted financial hardships for them and their families.

“Congress and the President must come together to pass legislation that opens all of America’s public lands so that park rangers, refuge managers, forest supervisors and nonprofit staff can get back to work,” says Society CEO Diana Nielsen Saathoff. “Despite the Society’s financial loss caused by the shutdown, the Society board of directors has pledged full financial support at the same levels prior to the shutdown to ensure a full visitor experience once our park reopens.”

Stay tuned to NewsCenter1 for more updates on the shutdown and their economic impact nationally as well as locally.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News