July 2, 2020

Charis Wilson, FOIA Officer
P.O. Box 25287
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
Denver, CO 80225

Subject:     Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Ms. Wilson:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, et seq., and the regulations of the Department of the Interior, 43 C.F.R., Part 2, I am submitting this FOIA request.  As background for this request:

  • On July 3, 2020, the National Park Service at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, in cooperation with the State of South Dakota, will be celebrating July 4th with a fireworks display and an appearance by President Trump and other dignitaries. We are aware that cooperating federal and state agencies will be actively involved in this event, including the United States Forest Service, the State of South Dakota, the National Park Service, and of course the Secret Service
  • On July 4, 2020, the White House has indicated that the President and First Lady will host “the 2020 Salute to America on the South Lawn of the White House and ” This event is apparently scheduled to include “music, military demonstrations, and flyovers to honor our Nation’s service members and veterans” as well as remarks by the President and a fireworks display “over the National Mall.”

In connection with these events, we request the following:

1)   All documents pertaining to cost information associated with the National Mall events for 2020 where NPS funds are used to support or execute the event.  Such costs include operational, cleanup costs and event planning.

2)   All documents pertaining to costs for the July 3, 2020, Mount Rushmore fireworks event, including what accounts these funds were taken from to plan and execute the event.

3)   The event safety plan and any safety assessments that were excluded from the Environmental Assessment for the July 3 Mount Rushmore 2020 event.

4)   All documents for communications between the Governor of South Dakota and the Department of Interior or National Park Service regarding cost-sharing for the July 3 Mount Rushmore event between the State, the Department of Interior, and the United States Forest Service.

5)   Documents describing any donors who may have or have promised to contribute to the July 3 Mount Rushmore event.

6)   All documents from either the Department of Interior or the National Park Service to or from the Governor of South Dakota regarding the decision to allow the EA prepared in 2020 to serve as the EA for future years.

For purposes of this FOIA request, “all documents” encompass: (i) any written, printed, or typed material of any kind, including without limitation to all correspondence, memoranda, notes, meeting minutes, emails from or to official or personal e-mail accounts, spreadsheets, reports, calendars; (ii) any electronically, magnetically, or mechanically stored records, such as materials stored on a compact disk, digital video disk, microfiche, regardless of form; (iii) any audio, visual, aural, or video records, including but not limited to photographs, videotapes, microfilm; and (iv) any other records preserved by any other means for documenting thought or expression.

I request a waiver of all fees for this request.  Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.  Having such information will enable the Coalition to more effectively communicate and advocate for the protection of the health and safety of NPS employees as millions of people continue to visit the National Park System during the ongoing pandemic.  The Coalition has an extensive public relations and communication program, which will be used to disseminate this information.  In the event such a waiver is not granted, we authorize the expenditure of up to $250 to process this request.  If additional cost is to be incurred, please contact us in advance.  Time is of the essence for this request, and we ask a timely release be provided as required by FOIA.

Thank you for your consideration.  Given the limited scope of this request, we would appreciate a timely response.


Phil Francis Signature




Philip A. Francis, Jr., Chair
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks

David Vela, Acting Director, National Park Service
Charis Wilson, FOIA Officer, Nation