National Park Service Denies South Dakota’s Request for Fourth of July Fireworks at Mount Rushmore

by Megan Molseed
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The National Park Service has denied yet another request from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to set off Fourth of July fireworks at Mount Rushmore in 2022. The denial, which comes to Noem’s office from the federal level, cites opposition from area Native American tribes. These tribes who are vocalizing their oppositions to the request are part of the reservations on which Mount Rushmore sits as well as the surrounding Black Hills.

Additionally, the National Park Service voiced concerns that wildfires may result from a fireworks display. That area of the country is not new to summer dry spells and droughts. The crux of these dry seasons often lands within July and August.

The Battle Continues As South Dakota Governor Pushes For Fourth of July Fireworks At Mt. Rushmore

While the National Parks Service has nixed the request from Governor Noem, she says she will continue to battle for permission to hold the fireworks display at Mount Rushmore. The South Dakota governor filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration last year; after the same request was denied in 2021.

“Mount Rushmore is the best place in America to celebrate our nation’s birthday,” Governor Kristi Noem says of a Fourth of July fireworks display at Mount Rushmore.

“I just wish President Biden could see that,” the Republican South Dakota governor continues in a Tuesday statement.

“Last year, the President hypocritically held a fireworks celebration in Washington, D.C.,” Noem continues. “While denying us our own event. This year, it looks like they are planning to do the same.”

Kristi Noem Says She Will Continue With Court Battle To Hold the Fourth of July Display

Governor Noem has said that she will continue to battle for the right to hold a Fourth of July Fireworks display at Mount Rushmore. A federal judge rejected Noem’s arguments last summer; after the Republican governor filed the lawsuit against the Biden administration last year. This prompted Noem to seek an appeal of the ruling via the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.

Noem had successfully pushed for a Fourth of July Fireworks display at the iconic “mount faces” in 2020 when former President Donald Trump visited the area, celebrating the holiday. The event pulled in thousands of attendees who flooded the area to hear the president speak and witness the patriotic fireworks display behind the beloved Mount Rushmore.

Experts Note Fireworks At Mount Rushmore Could Cause A ‘High Likelihood’ Of Wildfire

In a letter sent earlier in the week, the U.S. Department of Interior, Mount Rushmore National Memorial Superintendent Michelle Wheatley notes that it would not be “safe and responsible” to allow a fireworks display at the iconic landmark this summer.

Wheatley also notes that the memorial site was closed down due to wildfires for three days just last year. And, the expert notes, current conditions suggest that the area could be looking at the same conditions this year.

“Current drought conditions and the 2022 wildfire outlook indicate that fireworks would cause a high likelihood of a wildfire ignition,” Wheatley says in the letter.

Outsider.com