PIERRE, S.D. -- For the first time in over a decade, there will be Independence Day fireworks over Mount Rushmore next year.
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem's office announced in a Tuesday, May 7 news release that the state has entered a memorandum of agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior to allow the display on July 4, 2020.
"These events provide opportunities to celebrate the Nation's founding fathers, the spirit of democracy, and provide an iconic backdrop for the enjoyment and education of a diverse local, national, and international audience," the memorandum reads.
Noem said "there is no more fitting place in all the nation to celebrate our democracy" than at the national monument located in western South Dakota.
“We are excited and honored to see fireworks return to our nation’s Shrine of Democracy,” Noem said in Tuesday's news release. “When the fireworks were previously held at Mount Rushmore, the show was beamed around the globe via satellite. The entire world was able to view a celebration of our nation’s freedoms from the majestic memorial and the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota."
Fourth of July fireworks were previously displayed at Mount Rushmore between 1998 and 2009, but the displays ended due to concern over the pine beetle infestation in the Black Hills National Forest.
"Since that time, the forest has gained strength and advancements in pyrotechnics allow for a safe fireworks display," Tuesday's release said.
Noem's office said state and local agencies will work over the next year to organize the event.