KEYSTONE, S.D. (KELO) — It’s looking like fireworks may not return to Mount Rushmore for this year’s 4th of July celebrations. The National Park Service rejected South Dakota’s request for fireworks over the national memorial. In a letter last week, the regional director said potential risks to the park were still being evaluated from last year’s event.
Just down the road in Keystone, the owner of Boss’s Pizza and Chicken isn’t surprised by the decision. He also isn’t worried about the impact.
“I would say that from a business perspective, the fireworks didn’t really help or hurt us because it’s kind of an attraction that you are adding to an already extremely busy weekend, one of the busiest in the summer. Sometimes the hoopla involved in such things is a little more of a distraction than a help,” Owner of Boss’ Pizza and Chicken in Keystone Chris Glaesemann said.
However, the General Manager of the Presidential Wax Museum did notice a boost in traffic.
“I love having the fireworks here and I love being able to have that part of something that can bring us together as a community. I just hope that going forward we can get to a point where we can do it consistently and in a way that also protects our home and is in the best interest of both the people that live here and our local forest as well,” Clay King, GM of the Presidential Wax Museum said.
After 2009, the fireworks display for the 4th of July celebration at Mount Rushmore was halted due to environmental concerns. Last year was the first time since then that the event was held.
Kwinn Neff, a member of the town board in Keystone, says the fireworks brought more attention to the town and kicked off the summer tourism season.
“The businesses a lot of times have different views on how it affected their business but I think the big picture for Keystone is the opportunity that the fireworks gave us for marketing Keystone, marketing South Dakota tourism in general. Regardless of how busy it is that day, that’s something that you can’t replicate and it pays off the entire summer for tourism dollars so that’s probably the biggest loss out of this,” Neff said.
Neff says the town is still planning events for the summer celebration without the fireworks display at Mount Rushmore.
KELOLAND News also spoke with the town board president of Keystone. She says she understands why the fireworks display was denied, but also knows the benefits of having the event. KELOLAND News also reached out to officials at Mount Rushmore and the National Park Service. We have not heard back at this time.