Rushmore fireworks would be July 3

Gray Hughes

The National Park Service (NPS) is evaluating a proposal from South Dakota to host a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

The display would be held July 3.

“This evaluation includes tribal consultation, as well as compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and Endangered Species Act (ESA),” the NPS said on the webpage for Mount Rushmore fireworks. “The NPS and state are working together to evaluate various operational, logistical, resource management and mitigation measures. An Environmental Assessment is being prepared to evaluate the potential effects of resuming fireworks and there will be opportunities for public comment in early 2020.”

In May 2019 the Secretary of the Interior signed a Memorandum of Agreement with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem to work to reinstate fireworks at Mount Rushmore during July 4 celebrations.

According to the NPS website, the Memorandum of Agreement reads “the State of South Dakota and the Department of the Interior have committed to an agreement to exercise their full authorities under state and federal law to work to return fireworks to the memorial in a safe and responsible manner July 3, July 4 or July 5, beginning in the year 2020.”

If fireworks are held at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, it would be the first time in over a decade. Fireworks stopped at the memorial due to environmental concerns.

Further, the celebration might see a special visitor: President Donald Trump.

During the signing of the United States-China trade deal Jan. 15, Trump addressed Gov. Noem, who was attending signing with Sen. Mike Rounds.

“I said ‘why?’” Trump said, discussing a conversation he had regarding fireworks at the memorial and why they have not been held the past several years. 

“Environmental reason. I said ‘You mean you can't have fireworks because of the environment?’ Yeah, environmental reasons. I said ‘What can burn? It’s stone, you know? It’s stone.’ So nobody knew why, they just said environmental reasons, so I called up our people, and within about 15 minutes we got it approved and you are going to have your first big fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, and I’ll try to get out there, if I can. That will be great.”

Further information on Mount Rushmore fireworks will be posted to parkplan


User login