Mount Rushmore fireworks display sparks concerns

Despite a decade-long ban on fireworks at Mount Rushmore on
environmental and public
health
grounds, President Trump is planning a fireworks show at
the famous site on July 3. Critics are worried about the threat of
wildfire and the spread of coronavirus.

The National Park Service halted fireworks displays at Mount
Rushmore in 2010 to avoid wildfires accelerated by drought conditions. The
monument is famous for its four presidential faces — George
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham
Lincoln — but also includes 1,200 acres of forest and is close to
Black Hills National Forest’s Black Elk Wilderness.


Related: Crowds fill national park for Yellowstone
reopening

With a high temperature of 80 degrees predicted for the Fourth
of July weekend paired with moderate drought conditions, not
everybody is cheering for fireworks.“It’s a bad idea based on
the wildland fire
risk, the impact to the water quality of the memorial, the fact
that it is going to occur during a pandemic without social
distancing guidelines and the emergency evacuation issues,â€
Cheryl Schreier, who was superintendent at Mount Rushmore National
Park from 2010-2019, told
The Washington Post
.

Trump has yearned to see fireworks over Mount Rushmore for years
and has downplayed the wildfire risk. “What can burn? It’s
stone,†he said in January, according to
Popular Mechanics
.

The 7,500 people who won tickets to the event in an online
lottery will be urged to wear face coverings if they’re unable to
social distance. South Dakota has so far escaped the worst of
coronavirus. According to CDC statistics,
at the time of writing this article, the state had 6,626 confirmed
cases and 91 deaths.

A fireworks display over Mount Rushmore is especially symbolic
at a time when protesters seeking an end to racial discrimination
are tearing down monuments. Statues of Jefferson and Washington
have elsewhere been removed by people decrying the former
presidents as slave owners. Mount Rushmore has an especially
troubled history. The Lakota Sioux hold the Black Hills sacred.
Having the faces of their European conquerors immortalized on
stolen stone is viewed as the ultimate desecration.

Via
PBS
,
Ecowatch
and
Weather Channel

Image via Pixabay

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
Mount Rushmore fireworks display sparks concerns