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:
- Thomas Jefferson Solar Canopy: In January 2019, Xanterra completed a 356 kW photovoltaic (PV) array on the top level of the parking structure. It generates over half of the electricity used annually in the restaurant and gift shop. More information and real-time generation graphs are available here.
- Awards: Xanterra has received several recent awards and certifications for its sustainability improvements. More information is available here.
- Lighting Renovation: Between 2017 and 2019 Xanterra completed a comprehensive lighting renovation which included the replacement of over 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.
- 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 at no additional charge. There are three Tesla chargers and three universal level-2 EV chargers available in the north corner of parking level 2.
- Tire Inflation Station: Xanterra installed a tire inflation station in the parking garage. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of this service for optimal fuel economy.
- Sustainable Building Materials: Many of the wall finishes and fixtures 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. Other examples dining room carpet with recycled content tables made from 100% recycled paper and steel, and ceiling tiles in the gift shop made from 41% recycled content.
- Carbon Neutral: Xanterra at Mount Rushmore purchases carbon offsets and renewable energy credits (RECs) to equal all of our greenhouse gas emissions, making us carbon neutral.
- Guest Education: Xanterra is committed to partnering with the NPS to educate Mount Rushmore visitors about sustainability actions being taken in the park to encourage them to take similar actions at home. This is accomplished through this website, table tents, a real-time solar energy display, presentations, a local food video, themed recycling signage, and other methods.
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 2020. As reported by Ecometrix, Xanterra’s sustainability measurement system, we have decreased water consumption by 33% and purchased electricity by 49%.
We have also increased the percentage of local or sustainable items sold to 26% in our gift shop and 52% in our restaurant. The park also diverts over 50% of its waste from the landfill by recycling and composting.
For more information about Xanterra’s corporate sustainability initiatives, please visit Xanterra.com/sustainability.