Washington, DC – A bill introduced by U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) to facilitate the creation of a visitor center at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site received a favorable hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources National Parks Subcommittee this afternoon. Johnson crafted the legislation to transfer 25 acres of National Forest Service land to the National Park Service to construct the facility.
“I am pleased with today’s favorable consideration of my bill to help more people learn about this historic site here in our own backyard,” said Johnson. “As the visits to the Minuteman Missile continue to grow, we need to construct a visitors center that allows more people to learn about the important history of this site.”
In 1999, Johnson helped establish this site as part of the National Park system. With visits to Minuteman Missile growing from less than 5,000 people in 2004 to more 30,000 people in 2008, he is working to secure resources to construct the new visitors center to meet this increased demand.
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 legislation builds upon a bill passed in 1999 that established Minuteman Missile as a National Historic Site, which required that two sites be evaluated as potential locations for a visitor center. Johnson’s bill to adjust the boundary would allow for the construction of a visitor center and administrative facility at Exit 131 off of I-90.
The Minuteman Missile consists of the Delta-01 Launch Facility and the Delta-09 Missile Silo, located nearly 11 miles from one another on Interstate 90.