Park service denies 2021 fireworks at Mount Rushmore

March 12, 2021 GMT

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The National Park Service has denied South Dakota officials’ request to shoot off fireworks over Mount Rushmore again this year.

Fireworks returned to Mount Rushmore last year for a Fourth of July celebration that included a campaign stop by then-President Donald Trump. It was the first time Mount Rushmore has hosted a fireworks show since 2009.

But NPS Regional Director Herbert Frost wrote a letter to state tourism officials on Thursday saying the NPS would not grant their request for fireworks again this year, KOTA-TV reported on Friday. The denial was first reported by political website The Hill.


Frost said the parks service is still evaluating the risks from the 2020 show and he’s concerned about both the park and employees’ safety. He added that the service’s tribal partners expressly oppose fireworks at the monument and the large crowds such an event would draw would make social distancing difficult if not impossible.

Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted in response that the best place to celebrate America’s birthday is Mount Rushmore.