The National Park Service Organic Act states, "[The National Park Service] shall promote and regulate the use of the [national parks] by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks…, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
Many requests are received to use the memorial for various reasons. When such requests are inappropriate, they are denied. Frequently, because of lack of space, funds, staff resources, etc., even appropriate uses have to be denied; however, compatible, non-commercial (does not involve the buying and selling of goods or services) use of the Borglum View Terrace for weddings is permitted from time to time with a Special Use Permit. A Special Use Permit is issued by the Superintendent to an individual, group, or organization to authorize use of National Park Service-administered resources. A compatible use is defined as an activity that is consistent with applicable legislation, Federal regulations and administrative policies, is in accordance with the purpose of the Memorial, avoids visitor use conflicts, and does not create unacceptable impacts to memorial resources.
This guideline specifically covers requests for Special Use Permits authorizing use of the Borglum View Terrace for weddings.
As a matter of information to you regarding events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the possibility exists for the cancellation of all special events due to a national or regional crisis related to security issues. Because the memorial has been designated as one of the “icon” parks within our nation that may be targeted for terrorist activity, the status of the memorial’s operations is linked directly to the national threat level declared by the Office of Homeland Security; or, in some cases, by the Director of the National Park Service. At the “Red” (highest) level, when there is a severe risk of terrorist attack, a full scale closure will go into effect. That would necessitate the immediate and complete closure of the memorial. At the “Orange” and “Yellow” levels, closure of any portion of the memorial’s facilities may be considered on a case-by-case basis or day-by-day basis. There may also be the case of a local heightened threat level that would require restrictions or closures. The Superintendent will make that decision based upon the specific situation and local conditions as changes occur. We are providing this information to you as a courtesy in case you wish to consider other alternatives.
Weddings on the Borglum View Terrace are allowed year round with one exception. No weddings will be allowed on the Borglum View Terrace from June 30 through July 5 due to the Independence Day special event scheduled annually at the Memorial. The wedding must conclude one hour before sundown to allow time for the space to be cleaned up. * Dates are subject to change at anytime.
Who May Apply
Any individual, group, society, or organization that will assume responsibility for the gathering may apply for a Special Use Permit.
Requesting a Special Use Permit
Requests for a Special Use Permit must be made by completing the Application for Special Use Permit form. A completed application must be accompanied by an application fee in the form of a cashiers check or money order in the amount of $50.00 made payable to National Park Service. Application and administrative charges are non-refundable. The completed application needs to be mailed to "Permit Coordinator" at the address found on the first page of the application at least 30 days prior to the date of the event.
First Amendment Rights
When answering the First Amendment question on the application, please keep in mind First Amendment rights include freedom of speech, the press, religion, and assembly.
Issuing a Special Use Permit
When a completed application for permission to use the Borglum View Terrace is received, along with the required non-refundable application fee, a decision will be made to allow or deny special usage based on appropriateness, availability, timeliness, size of crowd, etc. If the use is to be permitted, a Special Use Permit outlining conditions governing the special usage, payment of the balance of the fee, and insurance and bonding requirements will be completed and sent to the requester. If the request is to be denied, a letter explaining the denial will be sent to the requester.
The permittee must sign and return the permit for the Superintendent's signature.
After the Superintendent signs the permit, the completed permit will be forwarded to the permittee along with a letter outlining how to proceed with the planning and execution of their special activity.
Facility Use Fee
At this time, there is no park facility use fee.
Use of the Borglum View Terrace requires the scheduling of the park's maintenance, interpretive, and law enforcement staffs to provide appropriate care for resources and visitors; therefore, park staff must be available to work an event before the event is permitted.
The permittee will be charged $40 per hour for each National Park Service ranger assigned to work the special event. The number of rangers assigned to work the event will be determined by the length of the event, number of attendees, etc. The ranger(s) will start working one hour prior to the event start time and stop working one hour after the event ends. The length of time a ranger(s) works will depend on the length of the wedding ceremony. The number of hours actually worked is what will be billed. A bill of collection will be sent to the permittee after the event outlining the charges for the park ranger(s') time. A check or money order in the amount due will need to be mailed to Mount Rushmore National Memorial within 30 days of receiving the bill for collection.
Performance bonds or deposits are the permittee's guarantee of compliance with permit conditions and reimbursement to the Memorial for damage to resources and/or facilities as a result of the permittee's activities. An amount adequate to cover the cost of restoration, repair, rehabilitation and cleanup of the area may be required.
Liability insurance protects the government from negligent actions by permittees. Insurance in an amount sufficient to protect the interests of the United States government may be required as a condition of the permit. The permittee must carry general liability insurance issued by a United States company with the U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service names as “additionally insured.” In general, a minimum of $1 million per occurrence general liability policy is required.
Adequate property insurance coverage may be required whenever a Federal facility is being made available pursuant to a permit.
Hold Harmless Clause
The Federal government, its agents and employees, cannot be held liable for claims for damages or suits for any injuries or deaths from any cause occasioned by the permittee's occupancy and use of the land included within the permit.
The permittee must remove all chairs, flowers, equipment, etc. from the Borglum View Terrace within one hour of the end of the wedding. The permittee is expected to leave the Borglum View Terrace in the same condition as it was found.
Additional Considerations and Limitations
Number of Guests
No more than 25 people will be permitted on the Borglum View Terrace.
Equipment and Temporary Structures
The permittee must supply their own chairs, risers, microphones, speakers, sound system, etc. No equipment will be available for use. All sound amplification equipment must be kept at a level so as not to disturb visitors in the immediate area or in the vicinity of the Borglum View Terrace. No structure of any kind may be erected without prior approval of the Superintendent. Examples include tents, shade canopies, and/or a stage.
Food and Beverages
Food and drink will not be allowed on the Borglum View Terrace.
Smoking is prohibited except in the parking areas and near the walk-in entrance to the memorial.
If a professional photographer is going to be used during the wedding, this will require the completion of a filming permit application. Please go to the Filming/Photography link on the Permits page of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial website for the application and further information.
There is no vehicle access to the Borglum View Terrace. Vehicles are only allowed to temporarily park at the Sculptor’s Studio to drop off and pick up people with limited mobility, as well as chairs, equipment, etc. All vehicles must be parked in the parking garage during the wedding. All vehicles are subject to screening.
Helium Balloons, Rice, Birdseed, Etc.
Outdoor release of helium-filled balloons within the National Park System is prohibited. These balloons inevitably fall back to earth where they create hazardous conditions for marine wildlife and also create additional litter problems.
The throwing of rice, birdseed, flower petals, bubbles, etc., is strictly prohibited.
Open flames are not permitted (no lighted candles).
In addition to specific terms and conditions articulated in the permit, all other Federal laws and regulations apply.
These guidelines and fees are subject to change without notice. For additional information, please contact the Park Permits Office at 605-574-3131.