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Contact: Navnit Singh, 605-574-3115
(Keystone, SD) Mount Rushmore National Memorial, a unit of the National Park Service (NPS) was the site of a demonstration by Greenpeace this morning. Early on 8 July, park staff and security quickly detected the unauthorized trespassing on the sculpture. Mount Rushmore’s law enforcement rangers responded within minutes and enlisted the aid of area, state and federal agencies which were activated to apprehend the individuals. During this time several Greenpeace activists rappelled over the face of the Abraham Lincoln carving and unfurled a 65 foot by 35 foot banner to the right of Abraham Lincoln as seen from the rest of the park.
There was never any danger to park visitors during the incident and ongoing park interpretation and education programs continued without disruption. This was an unwarranted trespassing and unauthorized activity and though all security measures functioned exactly as designed, it appears there was damage to government property to gain access to a controlled area. In addition, obstacles were installed which delayed access to activists. All activists were safely apprehended, removed from the mountain and placed into custody. Twelve apprehended individuals were turned over to federal jurisdiction. The operation is still on-going as well as the investigation. No details or information regarding the investigation are available at this time.
NPS staff members remained on scene to remove demonstration materials and to assess damage to government property (the sculpture, rock block monitoring and security systems). Our partnerships and mutual aid agreements with local, state, and federal agencies continue to be an effective enabler to ongoing operations. Superintendent Baker commended park staff and law enforcement partners for a great job during the response operations.