The time of year is one of the slowest for tourism around the Black Hills.
In Keystone, Mount Rushmore and some private businesses are still open year-round.
Even though traffic in and out of the area has decreased from the main tourism season, officials say traffic at Mount Rushmore has stayed on par, and even a little higher than that from previous winter months. This time of year can be a little harder on the businesses down the hill in Keystone. Many close, but some remain open. One owner says this time of year is good to do any projects in the building and to get inventory ready for tourism season. Even though it is slower, business varies day to day.
The Indians Authentic Indian Art & Crafts Owner Bruce Uhrig says, "Some days their can be several, a few families or something come by going to Rushmore or sometimes to the Stock Show some people come down. There's other days when there's one person or nobody comes in."
Park Ranger for Mount Rushmore National Memorial Marvin Achtenberg says, "We've had actually a surprising amount of traffic. In January, we were up 18% over last year at this time. So it has been steady through the winter even with some of the colder temperatures and snow that we've had, we've still had plenty of visitors come here to see the mountain."
Both say two of the main factors that have a big effect on winter tourism are weather conditions and gas prices. They both also say that the growth in the economy points towards more people taking vacations, spending, and another good upcoming tourism season.