Debbie Speas, Chief Operations Officer to the Mt. Rushmore Society, explains more about this nonprofit organization. “We’ve been around since 1930 and we are a partner with the National Park Service. So everything we do is to raise money to give back to the National Park Service, such as, a lot of people don’t know, we provide support for the Junior Ranger program. We provide an internship program at the park for the seasonal rangers. From replacing the flags on the avenue of flags, that’s where we come into play.”
The Mt. Rushmore Society currently has retail stores at Mount Rushmore, Mount Rushmore Memories at the airport, and a store front at 830 Main Street. They also accept donations.
The Mt. Rushmore Society will be hosting the Find Your Park Festival on Saturday, June 11.
Speas describes the event.
“We started the Find Your Park Festival in 2016. It was in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the National Park Service and just a way to give some public awareness to national parks in our area and all kinds of parks and outdoor related organizations. This year we are resurrecting it. So, it will be held on June 11th, this Saturday from 10am to 2pm. We have 18 vendors and they represent our national parks such as Badlands National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave, Mount Rushmore, of course, and then Custer State Park, and Trinity Echo Prayer Park.”
A variety of different organizations will be represented at this free family friendly event. Speas talks about some of the different activities that will be happening at the event.
“There will be Ranger talks. Something a little new this year, is called the Camper’s Challenge, and this is in partnership with Cabela’s. So, we will have a few local celebrities, yet to be named actually, but they will compete in survivor type activities with a camping flare. So they will compete in like a sleeping bag race, tying your hiking shoes, a backyard fishing challenge and to end up with putting up a tent and taking it down. So they will be timed and hopefully we will come up with a Camper’s Challenge Victor this year and then have a traveling trophy. It will start at noon on Saturday. So make sure you come down. We will also have Native American flute players, Sequoia Crosswhite will be there and Darrell Red Cloud, who is a descendant from Chief Red Cloud. And Darrell is also a seasonal ranger at Mt. Rushmore. And so he will provide a cultural presentation. And then Black Hills Raptor Center will give a bird demonstration. So, it should be really fun.”