Video prepared by Otto Bochman for the "Plus 50" class at Western Dakota Tech in Rapid City sponsored by the National Park Service. Information was researched from the National Park Service website and other NPS materials.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the mountain pine beetle is native to the Black Hills and has inhabited the Black Hills as long as there has been a pine forest. This insect, as with many other insects, goes through cycles where they become very abundant and then relatively rare. When the beetle population is very low only stressed or weakened trees, such as those struck by lightning, are colonized. However, about every ten years or so the beetle population increases and the beetles begin colonizing healthy as well as stressed trees. These outbreaks last for about five to 13 years after which the beetle population once again declines.
You can see the areas affected by the beetle in the aerial photo taken by Otto Bochman of Rapid City in June of 2011. The area in the photo is very near Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, and Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Mount Rushmore is the most recognizable landmark in South Dakota if not the world. Doane Robinson is the man whose vision became Mount Rushmore. Mr. Robinson believed an impressive destination in the Black Hills of South Dakota would serve to increased interest and tourism to the state. It was Robinson who contacted Gutzon Borglum in 1924 and as the saying goes – the rest is history.
Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills see the bulk of the nearly 3 million visitors during the warmer months of the year, however some of the most beautiful images can be seen during the winter months.
The Gutzon Borglum Scultors Studio at Mount Rushmore was built in 1939. It houses plaster models and tools related to the sculpting of the four faces.
The sculptor’s studio is on the last part of the presidential trail. The trail starts near the left side of the visitor’s center and theater and offers the closest view of the four presidents.