NPS rejects request for July 4 fireworks over Mt. Rushmore

By Rob Hotakainen | 02/21/2024 04:14 PM EST

The National Park Service told South Dakota officials that a fireworks event at the popular memorial would pose a threat to the environment.

Fireworks explode over Mount Rushmore

Fireworks burst at Mount Rushmore National Memorial on July 3, 2020, near Keystone, South Dakota. Alex Brandon/AP

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem on Wednesday again lost her ongoing bid to have her state host a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore National Memorial over the July 4 weekend.

“After careful consideration, the NPS has determined that we are unable to grant your request for this permit to hold a special event with fireworks at the Memorial,” Michelle Wheatley, the park’s superintendent, said in a letter to the South Dakota Department of Tourism. The letter was posted Wednesday to the NPS’s FOIA page.
NPS’s FOIA page

Wheatley said that a fireworks event “poses threats to the environment and Memorial resources” and that multiple tribes in the South Dakota area view fireworks as having “an adverse effect on the traditional cultural landscape.”


She also said that a previous fireworks display in 2020 had caused an increase in contamination at the site, with the discovery of higher perchlorate concentration levels in the memorial’s drinking water.