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Dakota Midday: Celebrating Outdoor Treasures On The Backside Of Rushmore

Charles Michael Ray

Mount Rushmore is among the most popular National Parks in the United States. Last year more than 2.4-million people visited the monument. They walked up the avenue of flags, then many gazed in awe up at the faces, and a bunch ate ice cream at the concession stand.   But very few of those visitors ever hiked or climbed into the backside of Rushmore.  

The area behind Rushmore is a maze of granite spires, cliffs and gullies, dotted with spruce trees, towering pines, and even some raspberry bushes.   Many of the rock formations in the National Park adjacent to the mountain carving are off limits.  But there are acres of land in the park open to the public for hiking and rock climbing.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray hiked into a climbing area on the backside of Rushmore called the Emancipation Rock Formation.  He followed Andrew Busse and Andrew Burr.    The pair of friends literally wrote the book on climbing in this part of the Black Hills.  “The Needles of Rushmore” was published in 2012.

You can hear the interview by clicking play below.

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