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Park Service finishes assessment for Mount Rushmore fireworks

Fireworks for the Fourth of July celebrations at Mount Rushmore were stopped due to fire concerns. (photo courtesy South Dakota Department of Tourism)
Fireworks for the Fourth of July celebrations at Mount Rushmore were stopped due to fire concerns. (photo courtesy South Dakota Department of Tourism)(KSFY)
Published: Mar. 2, 2020 at 6:23 PM CST
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The National Park Service has completed the draft environmental assessment needed before fireworks can return to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

The assessment, according to NPS, “explores the return of fireworks in a way that protects the memorial, the environment and park visitors.” Fourth of July fireworks were banned 11 years ago due to concerns about wildfires, especially during the pine beetle epidemic.

Under the proposed action described in the EA, the NPS would permit the state’s Independence Day celebration, including a firework display and other entertainment. Similar events could be permitted in future years if conditions remain the same and impacts are as described in the document.

On May 6, 2019, the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed a Memorandum of Agreement with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to work to explore returning fireworks to Mount Rushmore National Memorial during Independence Day celebrations. The MOA states that 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 Mount Rushmore National Memorial in a safe and responsible manner.

Public comments for the proposed fireworks celebration can be posted on the NPS project website, now through March 30.

Three public meetings are scheduled:

• March 9 (6-8 p.m.) at the Game, Fish and Parks Outdoor Campus West, 4130 Adventure Trail, Rapid City.

• March 10 (6-8 p.m.) at the Custer Courthouse Annex, 420 Mount Rushmore Road, Custer.

• March 11 (4-6 p.m.) at the Keystone Community Center, 1101 Madill Street, Keystone.

Comments can also be mailed to:

Superintendent

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

13000 Highway 244, Building 31, Suite 1

Keystone, SD 57751

ATTN: Fireworks/EA

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