Learn about the “Nuclear Heartland”

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Date: September 19, 2016
Contact: Joe Brehm, 605 433-5552 ext. 1241

Cactus Flat, SD – At the height of the Cold War the nuclear missiles in South Dakota and six other states presented a paradox;while Soviet satellites had pinpointed their locations, American citizens were scarcely aware of the arsenal in their midst. Thirty years ago, concerned activists undertook the task of mapping the missile fields with the intention of sparking a national conversation about the weapons stored there.

When first published by the Wisconsin-based organization Nukewatch in 1988, the book Nuclear Heartland provided the first publicly accessible maps and driving directions to each of the 1,000 Minuteman Missile silos located in six fields across the United States. This year, the group published a revised edition of the book, which includes information on the 1990s "Drawdown" of the missile fields in rural Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

At 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, John LaForge—activist and co-editor of the revised edition of Nuclear Heartland—will speak at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site's visitor center about the work that he and others continue to do in fostering a dialogue about nuclear weapons.

"The original edition of Nuclear Heartlandbrought awareness of the nuclear arsenal to the American public during a critical time at the end of the Cold War;this new edition serves as a reminder that nuclear weapons are still keeping a constant watch on the high plains," said Superintendent Eric Leonard.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site's headquarters and visitor center is located off of exit 131, Interstate 90. The park consists of three sites along a fifteen mile stretch of Interstate 90 in Western South Dakota. Authorized by Congress in 1999, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site preserves components of the Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile system, interpreting the deterrent value of the land-based portion of America's nuclear defense during the Cold War era and commemorating the people and events associated with this recent period of American history. The park is open daily 8:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. More information about the park can be found on the internet at www.nps.gov/mimi or by phone at: 605-433-5552. Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinutemanMissileNHS and Twitter at https://twitter.com/mimi_ranger

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About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

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Last updated: September 19, 2016

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