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Our commitment

At Mount Rushmore we believe that there are few more important – or more complex – tasks ahead of us than that of reaching an ecological balance between business and the natural environment. Our parent company, Xanterra Travel Collection, is a company based upon values that reflect an environmental ethic and social conscience – for the long term. We are taking the lead in this call and are implementing comprehensive environmental initiatives. Xanterra’s business practices exemplify environmental stewardship, and a desire to protect and preserve the public lands on which we operate.

At Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Xanterra is in the process of making many exciting improvements that will drastically decrease the environmental footprint of the park while enhancing visitors’ experience. Some of these planned projects include:


  • Solar Carport System: Xanterra plans to install a photovoltaic (PV) array on the top level of half of the parking structure to shade visitor vehicles while generating nearly half of the electricity used annually in the restaurant and gift shop.
  • Lighting renovation: Xanterra is developing a comprehensive lighting renovation to include the replacement of nearly all lights in the parking facility, restaurant, gift shop, and employee dormitory.  All new lights will use LED technology coupled with advanced controls including scheduling, occupancy sensing, and daylight sensing.  This will support the renovation of the food & beverage and retail sales areas, as well as revive aesthetic character, enhance functionality, improve guest safety and satisfaction, reduce maintenance requirements, and result in vast improvements in energy efficiency.
  • HVAC upgrades: An estimated 7% of typical annual electricity and 25% of typical annual propane use will be saved with the completion of a major renovation of all mechanical systems in the concession building.
  • LEED: Xanterra will make improvements required to certify the concession building to a minimum standard of Gold using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M) 4 system.
  • Parksmart: With the development of new parking structure management, programming, design, and technology, Xanterra will pursue the Parksmart certification, which distinguishes forward-thinking parking facilities that create a sustainable mobility network.
  • Certified Green Restaurant (4 stars): Currently a 3-star Certified Green Restaurant, Carvers’ Marketplace is enthusiastic to pursue a higher level of certification and become a 4-star Certified Green Restaurant.
  • Roof greenhouse: A greenhouse will be built on the roof of the gift shop to help supply Carvers’ Marketplace with fresh, super-local produce and herbs.
  • EV charging stations: Three Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations will be installed in the parking facility for visitor use.
  • Tire inflation stations: Xanterra will offer free tire inflation stations in the parking garage. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of this service for optimal fuel economy.
  • “Our Next 10 Goals”: Xanterra is proving that sustainable companies can be profitable and that protecting resources, addressing climate change, and minimizing waste are the right investments for our immediate future and for future generations.
  • ISO 14001: Xanterra maintains ISO 14001 certification for its “Our Softer Footprint” environmental management systems (EMS). Xanterra’s EMS drives environmental achievement through corporate environmental policy and an organizational commitment to achieve greater sustainability.
  • Mountain pine beetle wood: Much of the wall finishes and furniture in the dining room and gift shop are made from trees harvested after being killed by the mountain pine beetle. Some of this wood was harvested from beetle-killed ponderosa pine trees in the Black Hills.
  • Carbon Neutral: Xanterra at Mount Rushmore purchases carbon offsets and renewable energy credits (RECs) to equal all of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Our Sustainable Progress

As reported by Ecometrix, Xanterra’s sustainability measurement system, compared to 2000 the Company now uses 28% less water and 30% less electricity. 20% of gift shop sales are of local or sustainable items and 56% of food and beverage purchases are local or sustainable. The park also diverts nearly 50% of its waste from the landfill to recycling or composting.   


For more information about Xanterra sustainability initiatives, please visit

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