The Michigan man who was arrested for climbing Mount Rushmore on Sunday regrets his actions.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Dakota said Wednesday that park rangers arrested Zachary Schossau of South Rockwood on Sunday. Schossau appeared in court and was issued a $1,000 fine. He was also ordered to pay a $30 court processing fee.
“Now, looking back, I wouldn’t have done that,” Schossau, 19, said. “It was disrespectful to the park rangers. I didn’t have any ill intentions. There was no thought of vandalism. I was just going up there for a picture.”
Schossau said he was visiting the Black Hills sculpture with family when he decided to hike up a side of the mountain for a photo.
“I wasn’t going to do any free climbing,” Schossau said. “I honestly just wanted to get closer to it because I had seen it before from farther away and I didn’t know that there would be a situation that would like result from it or be the case.”
Because he was only hiking a trail, Schossau said he didn’t know about the severity of the situation or the legal consequences. Schossau said he ended up directly underneath the George Washington part of the sculpture.
“I didn’t realize that it was like a strict thing (to do),” Schossau said. “I knew that it was frowned upon, and I knew that there were signs, but I didn’t know that it was a big deal to go close to it. ”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the National Park Service caution that climbing the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is illegal and that violations will be prosecuted.
“I want to make it right,” Schossau said. “I do apologize for doing it because it wasn’t a good idea and it wasn’t mature, either.”