U.S. Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune and Congresswoman Kristi Noem announced today that legislation to facilitate construction of a visitor center at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was signed into law by President Obama. The law will transfer approximately 29 acres of National Forest Service land to the National Park Service to construct a visitor facility and provide parking.
"This law will allow construction of the visitor center to begin shortly at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site" said Johnson. "This is the first unit of the National Park Service dedicated exclusively to Cold War events. With the visitors center the Park Service will be able to tell the story of this historic site and the role South Dakota played in the Cold War."
"I am pleased the president has cleared the way for the development of a visitor's center highlighting the important role and historic significance of the Minuteman Site," said Thune. "The center will make a piece of South Dakota's past more accessible to students of history from around the globe."
"Now that this bill has been signed into law, plans for a new visitor center can move forward, allowing South Dakotans and visitors from all over the country to visit this historic site and learn more about the history of the Minuteman Missile," said Noem. "The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site helps tell the story of how the Minuteman played a role in bringing peace during tense relations between the United States and former Soviet Union. I'm pleased the House, Senate and the president took swift action on this common-sense bill."
The launch control facility and missile silo that make up the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site were preserved to illustrate the history of the Cold War and the role the Air Force's Minuteman II Missile defense system played in efforts to preserve world peace.
The new law builds upon a law passed in 1999 that established Minuteman Missile as a National Historic Site. The land transfer provided in the new law allows for the construction of a visitor center and administrative facility at Exit 131 off of I-90 (about 70 miles east of Rapid City). The bill would also transfer 3.65 acres near the missile silo for visitor parking and other administrative uses. Congress provided funding for the construction of the visitor center when the Site was established.
The Minuteman Missile consists of the Delta-01 Launch Facility and the Delta-09 Missile Silo, located about 11 miles from one another on Interstate 90.