Mount Rushmore National Memorial Officials Decide To Do Away With Fourth of July Fireworks

Once a routine part of celebrating the Fourth of July at Mount Rushmore, fireworks are being eliminated from the memorial's Independence Day celebration due to the risk of wildfires. NPS photo.

If you've enjoyed the fireworks displays that have been part of the Fourth of July celebrations at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the past, take a long look at the accompanying photo, for officials there have decided to do away with the fireworks.

Superintendent Cheryl Schreier says planning already is under way for next year's Independence Day Celebration at Mount Rushmore. And she adds that the successful outcomes from the 2010 and 2011 celebrations, along with continued resource concerns, have prompted the Park Service to configure the 2012 celebration on the same model, one that will not include a fireworks component.

More than 21,000 people visited the memorial on July 3 in 2011, exceeding the 2009 and 2010 numbers, according to officials there. The event model of the past two years has allowed all visitors an opportunity to enjoy the memorial on July 3, and event planners were pleased that no visitors had to be turned away, as was common in previous years, they added.

The risk of wildfire prompted the suspension of the fireworks for the 2010 and 2011 celebrations. Efforts are on-going throughout the Black Hills to combat the mountain pine beetle infestations and reduce fire danger. However, memorial officials say, the condition of the forest in the surrounding area continues to deteriorate and will remain a concern for the foreseeable future.

“Mount Rushmore has successfully proven they can provide an outstanding July 3 celebration, in collaboration with Black Hills communities that can safely offer fireworks shows,” said Park Service Regional Director Michael Reynolds. “The Park Service is committed to being responsible stewards of the land, as well as responsible neighbors, and to do that we need to take every conceivable precaution to mitigate the fire danger.

"Providing a celebration without fireworks for the 2012 Independence Day Celebration is the prudent course of action,” added the regional director.

It is expected that the 2012 celebration will again offer a schedule of events that highlight patriotism, cultural celebrations of American heritage, and features the true meaning of Independence Day, while at the same time protecting the park’s resources and encouraging visitor safety. Once again, park officials will collaborate with surrounding communities and organizations to plan and promote events available throughout the Black Hills over the July 4 holiday.

Additional information about the 2012 celebration will be available in the coming months.

Comments

We were fortunate several years ago to view the fireworks...they were incredible as were the other activities. I find it appalling that firreworks will no longer be seen. The chanting of the Native American, the flyover, and the fireworks something my wife and I will never forget and, seems will now be a memory.
My suspicion the Superintendent is over-reacting and does not understand the value of the event. I think we would all agree fire is, of course, a legitimate concern and no one would criticize a her for cancelling due a fire concern but...a cost concern, cut me a break. It is a priority decision and she is maintaining programs that have a higher priority to her, not the thousands of visitors that came to see the fireworks.

The fireworks at the park will be missed in the short term, but will serve the park much better in the future. The adminstation of the event with fireworks was a nightmare and this new set up allows everyone to enjoy the park on the 4th (or 3rd) instead of the squatters who got to the park at 8am for that nights fireworks. A better deal all around. Good work NPS!

"squatters"? No, we are tourists that come from all over to visit this wonderful place. We were there for all the park had to offer, we've been to several pyro displays around the world but really enjoyed this little display but it was only PART of the experience. I guess it makes sense that "Northern Hospitality" isn't a familiar term.