Mount Rushmore 4th of July Fireworks Celebration Request Denied by National Park Service

by Keeli Parkey

Citing safety as a major concern, officials at the National Park Service (NPS) reportedly denied a request for fireworks at Mount Rushmore this Independence Day.

According to, the state tourism office of South Dakota requested fireworks this 4th of July. A celebration led by President Donald Trump took place at the famous monument in 2020.

There won’t be an Independence Day celebration on July 4th there this year, according the NPS ruling. In the ruling, health and safety risks were causes for concern.

“Potential risks to the park itself and to the health and safety of employees and visitors associated with the fireworks demonstration continue to be a concern and are still being evaluated as a result of the 2020 event,” said NPS Regional Director Herbert Frost.

NPS Says No to Fireworks in Letter to South Dakota Officials

The director shared his thoughts in a letter sent to tourism officials with the state of South Dakota. The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic played a major role in the decision made by the NPS not to allow the fireworks.

Frost said the NPS believed the fireworks would not be an event that would allow for adequate COVID-19 safety measures. He said getting attendees to follow rules at an event of that size would be “difficult, if not impossible.”

And, even though President Joe Biden has said that all Americans should be eligible to take one of the COVID-19 vaccines by early May, the NPS did not feel moving forward with the fireworks was a good idea at this time. Director Frost reportedly said that it is”only prudent to make plans based on the best available science and public health guidance available today.”

Another issue that led to the decision by the NPS dealt with those who reside near Mount Rushmore.

“In addition, the park’s many tribal partners expressly oppose fireworks at the Memorial,” Director Frost also wrote. 

There are some officials from South Dakota who are not very happy with the decision made by the NPS.

One such official is Governor Kristi Noem. She is reportedly planning to take steps to ensure that fireworks will take place at Mount Rushmore this July 4th.

The 2020 fireworks were the first held at Mount Rushmore since 2009. Due to concerns that fireworks would cause wildfires in the area, they were not allowed to take place during those years.

Learn More About Mount Rushmore

The famous Mount Rushmore monument is located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. It bears the faces of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

The idea for the enormous monument belonged to historian Doane Robinson. Unsurprisingly, Robinson is now known as the “Father of Mount Rushmore.”

Furthermore, it was Robinson’s belief that the monument would help bring visitors to that part of South Dakota. Obviously, he was correct.

Also, Robinson reached out to sculptor Gutzon Borglum about creating the monument during 1924. Borglum was actually working on the sculpture in Stone Mountain, Georgia, at the time. In addition, according to the NPS, it was Borglum who chose Mount Rushmore as the spot for the monument.