...Daugaard wants $500,000 in state money to be used for an 18-mile spur off the 109-mile Mickelson Trail to reach Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Private donations and federal funding would cover the remainder of the $2 million project, said Doug Hofer of Pierre, director of parks and recreation for GF&P.
...The Mount Rushmore trail spur will attract people from across the nation and beyond, he said [Kevin Woster, "Sanford Lab, Mount Rushmore Trail, Pine Beetle Work among West River Projects in Governor's Budget," Rapid City Journal, 2012.12.05].
A final route has yet to be decided. (Keep us off Highway 244—go gold or red!) But whatever route the trail takes, this spur would boost Hill City tourism. The Hills are beautiful wherever you ride, but it's always fun to have a banner destination. And holy cow—what more fun destination could you ask for than Mount Rushmore? Plus, ride your bike from Hill City, and you save the $11 parking fee! Heck of a deal! Save that money for filet mignon at the Alpine Inn.
Governor Daugaard is asking that South Dakota taxpayers cover just a quarter of this useful project. That's a bargain. We could even bust out of the red-state moocher model and spot some more of the cost of a project that will bring great benefits to the Black Hills and South Dakota tourism.