News Release

National Park Service Takes Next Steps to Bring Back Independence Day Fireworks at Mount Rushmore National Memorial

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Date: February 28, 2020
Contact: Maureen McGee-Ballinger, 605-574-3115

MOUNT RUSHMORE, S.D. – The National Park Service (NPS) announced next steps in advancing the return of fireworks to Mount Rushmore National Memorial after an 11-year absence. The draft environmental assessment (EA) available for review today, explores the return of fireworks in a way that protects the memorial, the environment and park visitors. Public comments for the proposed fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore are being accepted on the NPS project website from February 28 through March 30, 2020.

“I share in President Trump and Secretary Bernhardt’s commitment to bringing back fireworks to this iconic American landmark,” said Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Rob Wallace. “We’re excited to continue working with the community and its leaders as we plan this celebration of our nation’s birth.”

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 (MOA) 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.

“This is an important step in exploring the return of fireworks to Mount Rushmore National Memorial in a way that protects the memorial, the environment and park visitors,” said Deputy Director Exercising the Authority of the Director, David Vela. “Public engagement will play a key role in the planning process for the National Park Service.”

Public information meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

Monday March 9
Rapid City Information Session
SDGFP (South Dakota Game/Fish/Parks) Outdoor Campus, West
4130 Adventure Trail, Rapid City, SD 57702
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 10
Custer Information Session
Courthouse Annex, Pine Room
420 Mount Rushmore Road, Custer SD 57730
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 11
Keystone Information Session
Community Center Meeting Room
1101 Madill St, Keystone SD 57751
4:00 p.m.– 6:00 p.m.

How to Comment

The preferred manner for providing comments is via an online form through the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website, used by the agency to manage official correspondence and analyze public comment in the planning process. From the project website (, navigate the menu on the left-hand side of the page to “Open for Comment,” then open the “DO” folder. The green “Comment Now” button will take you to the online form.

Comments may also be submitted in writing to:

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
13000 Highway 244, Building 31, Suite 1
Keystone, SD 57751
ATTN: Fireworks / EA

Comments must be entered into the website or postmarked by March 30, 2020 to receive consideration.

Please be aware that the entire comment submitted – including personal identifying information such as address, phone number, and email address – may be made publicly available. Requests to withhold such personal identifying information from public release will be considered, but there is no guarantee that they will be withheld.

Last updated: May 23, 2022

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Mailing Address:

13000 Highway 244
Building 31, Suite 1

Keystone, SD 57751


605 574-2523
Park information. Phones are answered from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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