South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem Wants Fireworks to Return to Mount Rushmore in 2024
July 4th, 2023 is barely in the books and already the focus has turned to Independence Day 2024 in South Dakota.
Wednesday (July 5), Governor Kristi Noem and the South Dakota Department of Tourism submitted an application to the National Park Service for a special use permit for a 2024 fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore.
A number of factors have kept fireworks away from the national memorial 14 times in the last 15 years.
In a press release announcing the special use permit application, the governor said:
'There is truly no better place to celebrate America’s Birthday than Mount Rushmore. The Biden Administration has consistently denied us the ability to celebrate our nation’s Freedom with fireworks. We will keep fighting to host fireworks at Mount Rushmore and celebrate our Freedoms.'
Fire concerns, Native American Tribal protests, and more recently COVID have led to the fireworks ban at Mount Rushmore every year except one since 2009.
The lone exception was July of 2020, after the governor received a Memorandum Agreement from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior to include fireworks for the Independence Day celebration, which included an appearance from then-President Donald Trump.
In 2022, Noem went as far as suing the Department of the Interior and National Park Service to overturn the fireworks ban at Mount Rushmore. That request was denied by a Federal Judge and that denial was later upheld by the Eighth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.