Good news for Black Hills visitors planning a trip to Mount Rushmore this fall: parking rates will take a small dip beginning October 15, 2016.
Although admission to Mount Rushmore has always been free, the memorial began charging for parking after a major renovation project in 1998. The $11 fee has taken some visitors by surprise - especially people who try to use discount passes like the National Park Service's Golden Age Passport, which aren't valid for parking fees.
But yesterday the National Park Service announced a new contract with a new parks concessionaire. The most immediate change: the standard parking fee will drop from $11 to $10. Seniors will get to park for only $5 - a 50% discount - and active-duty members of the U.S. military will be able to park for free. Another bonus? All parking passes will be valid for a full year from the date of purchase, which will come in handy for people who like to take multiple trips to the Black Hills during the year.
There will eventually be other improvements, too. Self-pay parking stations are due to be installed at some point, which will help keep cars from piling up in the entry lines during the busy summer season.
For more information about visiting Rushmore, check out the Memorial's page on the National Park Service website.