When I first told people I was moving to South Dakota for the summer, I got a lot of looks. Lots of “ohhhh, that will be interesting.” And many “What is there in South Dakota?” And to be honest, I didn’t really know myself. I accepted the position at Mount Rushmore as the sustainability intern on a whim without truly thinking about where I would be going. I had never been there, or even wanted to go there. I remembered that in 4th grade I did my state report on South Dakota, so I had that as a starting point!
Despite all the confused comments and questions, I was excited to start my summer adventure and explore what South Dakota has to offer! And man does it have a lot! Mount Rushmore is located about 2 miles up the mountain from Keystone, South Dakota. A very small town, if you could even call it that, that wakes up in the summer and shuts down the rest of the year. The closest large town is Rapid City, a normal town with a Target, Safeway and a movie theater about 30 minutes away. But as you may guess, people don’t go to South Dakota for the cities, they go for the wilderness and recreation! Mount Rushmore is situated in the middle of the beautiful Black Hills. Amazing mountains and rock structures covered in ponderosa pine trees make up the west side of South Dakota. There are lakes, rivers, streams, prairies, thick forests, rock formations called needles and endless hikes. Not to mention the mountain goats, bison, deer, elk, birds and mountain lions! South Dakota has so much to offer for nature fanatics like me, and I am so glad I got to spend the summer exploring it while working to protect and conserve it!