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 recently completed and planned projects include:
- Solar Carport System: In January 2019 Xanterra completed a 356 kW photovoltaic (PV) array on the top level of the parking structure. It generates nearly half of the electricity used annually in the restaurant and gift shop. More information and real-time generation graphs are available here.
- Lighting renovation: Between 2017 and 2019 Xanterra completed a comprehensive lighting renovation which included the replacement of nearly 2,000 light fixtures in the parking facility, restaurant, gift shop, and employee dormitory. All new lights use LED technology coupled with advanced controls including scheduling, occupancy sensing, and daylight sensing. HVAC upgrades: An estimated 7% of typical annual electricity and 25% of typical annual propane is being saved after 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) v4 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): In 2019, Carvers’ Café became a 4-star Certified Green Restaurant. It is the only restaurant to achieve this highest level of certification in South Dakota, the second in the National Park system, and only the 33rd in the country.
- Roof greenhouse: A greenhouse was built on the roof of the gift shop to help supply Carvers’ Marketplace with fresh, super-local produce and herbs.
- EV charging stations: Six Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations were installed in the parking facility for visitor use for free.
- Tire inflation stations: Xanterra installed a tire inflation station in the parking garage. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of this service for optimal fuel economy.
- 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
Due to these and other projects including the engagement of our employees and guests, Xanterra is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions from Mount Rushmore National Memorial by over 50% from 2016 to 2019. As reported by Ecometrix, Xanterra’s sustainability measurement system, we have also increased the percentage of local or sustainable items sold to 24% in our gift shop and 66% in our restaurant. The park also diverts over 50% of its waste from the landfill to recycling or composting.
For more information about Xanterra sustainability initiatives, please visit Xanterra.com/sustainability.