More than 125,000 wanted to see July 3 fireworks at Mount Rushmore, travel official says

KELOLAND.com Original

The state has taken safety measures to try to ensure the fireworks at Mount Rushmore on July 3 can be held without incident. A total of 7,500 free tickets will be issued to the event through a lottery system. Photo: South Dakota Department of Tourism

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A total of 25,179 applicants representing 125,787 individuals who wanted to see the fireworks and President Donald Trump on July 3 at Mount Rushmore were received by the state, said Katlyn Richter, the director of global media and public relations for the South Dakota Department of Tourism/Travel South Dakota.

Organizers are planning for about 7,500 people to attend the July 3 event. Only ticket holders will be allowed to attend. The national site will be closed to the general public on July 3, according to the department of tourism.

Applicants could apply for up to six tickets. Each applicant was charged $1 to apply even if they applied for the maximum of six tickets.

This amount stays with Recreation.gov to cover the cost of administering the lottery, Richter said.

The lottery for tickets opened Jon Friday, June 5, and closed at 9:59 p.m. Mountain Time on Monday, June 8.

South Dakota led the way in the number of applicants and individuals. The tourism department had 7,766 applicants from South Dakota representing 40,575 individuals.

Coming in second was California with 3,071 applicants representing 15,565 individuals.

A fireworks display at Mount Rushmore first happened in 1998. There has been no display since the 2009 display because of the pine beetle infestation and other ecological concerns.

The National Park Service announced in April that the NPS issued a Finding of No Significant Impact following an environmental assessment on the possibility of fireworks. The NPS said on its website “The event will be held subject to appropriate weather, security, wildland fire conditions, and in accordance with the President’s Opening Up America Again guidelines.”

A 66-page report on the impact of fireworks at Mount Rushmore was released by the U.S. Department of the Interior in February. One listed concern is the 60% probability of a modest wildfire, according to the report.

For the 2020 event, ticket holders are divided into zone 1 and zone 2.

Zone 1 visitors will have provided seating in the amphitheater and the Grand View Terrace. According to recreation.gov, visitors may be subject to health screening requirements

Zone 2 visitors must provide their own seating for locations along South Dakota Highway 244 within the memorial. Visibility may be limited in some areas.

The regular evening light show at Mount Rushmore draws an average of 2,500 visitors each night, according to the National Park Service’s Mount Rushmore page on the website.

The original amphitheater held 850 people before it was renovated, according to the NPS.

A photo of the amphitheater at Mount Rushmore. This photo may have been taken before any construction this year or in 2019. Photo from the South Dakota Sculpture Trail website.

An $8 million construction project continues at the national park. The project includes upgrades to the visitor’s center and widening the Avenue of Flags.

A traditional fireworks display at Fort Vancouver National Site in Vancouver, Washington, has been canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, The Historic Trust said on its website. This would have been the 57th annual fireworks display.

The Visit Fairfax website lists the July 4 fireworks at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

In late May, Trump said he still plans for fireworks at the National Mall but several D.C. area lawmakers urged him to cancel the July 4 event because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple media reports.

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