Surveyor Shortens South Dakota’s Tallest Peak By 11 Feet

RAPID CITY, S.D. – A surveyor who determined that South Dakota’s tallest mountain is 11 feet shorter than originally thought likes to be precise.

Jerry Penry tells the Rapid City Journal he felt compelled to bring modern technology to the task when he learned that the popularly accepted elevation of Black Elk Peak, formerly known as Harney Peak, was based on surveys from the late 1890s.

In September, Penry and six team members spent two days producing a better measurement. They determined that the highest natural point on the peak, excluding the stone-built lookout tower that sits atop it, is 7,231 feet above sea level. That’s 11 feet lower than the original estimate of 7,240 from the 1890s.

Penry says he doesn’t plan to push for official recognition of the new figure.

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