NPR

Mount Rushmore Fireworks Revival To Feature Trump But No Social Distancing

Environmental dangers, including wildfires and groundwater poisoning, ended the Rushmore pyrotechnics a decade ago. Now they're back, defying a pandemic and protests.
Tourists visit Mount Rushmore National Monument on Wednesday. President Trump is expected to visit the federal monument in South Dakota and give a speech before a fireworks display on Friday. Source: Scott Olson

A decade after being banned amid concerns about wildfires and groundwater pollution, and despite protests by Native Americans and recommendations from public health officials to avoid public gatherings, fireworks will once again be exploding over Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of western South Dakota on Friday, anticipating July 4.

President Trump has pushed for the revival of the pyrotechnics display, and he plans to witness the spectacle before 60-foot-tall visages of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt carved across the granite face of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

About 7,500 other spectators will be there too, the winners of an sponsored by South Dakota's state tourism department. And despite at least registered in South Dakota from COVID-19, these visitors will not be told to don face masks or to practiceNoem, who last year after serving eight years in the House of Representatives, has refused to order restrictions to protect public health throughout the pandemic.

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