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Learn about the “Nuclear Heartland” at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site


Cactus Flat, S.D. – At the height of the Cold War the nuclear missiles in South Dakota and five 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 peace groups undertook the task of mapping the missile fields with the intention of sparking debate 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 as well as detailed accounts of peace actions in the missile fields from 1958 to the present.

At 1:00 p.m. on Saturday January 23, 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 Heartland  was released 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. Established 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. More information about the park can be found on the internet at or by phone at: 605-433-5552 ext. 1237. Visit us on Facebook at and Twitter at

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Eric Leonard, Superintendent
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Phone: 605-433-5552, ext. 1238