Badlands Riders 4-H volunteers celebrate National Public Lands Day by working at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

The Badlands Riders 4-H Club ... These volunteers lent a helping hand to park personnel. They stained the deckway, as well as other chores, at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site contact station

"When a V.I.P. agrees to share his talents, skills and interests with the National Park Service, he is paying us one of the highest compliments possible by offering a most valued possession - his time," said George Hartzog, former Director National Park Service.

Local volunteers joined forces on Saturday, September 27, by helping park rangers at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site with two maintenance projects at their Cactus Flat visitor contact station. Eleven youngsters and three adults from the Badlands Riders 4-H Club participated in the "volunteer-in-parks" program in honor of National Public Lands Day.

The volunteers spent the morning restoring the visitor contact station's entranceway deck and assisted with constructing a wooden safety fence. As a reward for their contributions, each volunteer received an NPS t-shirt and recognition certificate. Acting Superintendent Jeanne Berry said, "Our current staff includes only eight rangers, and although we have accomplished many goals this year, some of the goals would not have been possible without the help of volunteers like the Badlands Riders." The volunteers are looking forward for a return visit to tour the historic site.

Minuteman Missile's visitor contact station received over 22,000 guests this year and it is important that the modest center maintain a positive physical appearance. During the year, other volunteers have assisted with interpretation programs, museum activities, and maintenance.

National Park Service Director, Mary Bomar, stated that "last year, more than 100,000 volunteers worked at parks throughout the nation, and contributed $12 million in improvements to federal, state and local parks." September 27 was National Public Lands Day; a day to encourage Americans to benefit their parks through volunteer projects.

Funding for this specific program, including materials, supplies and recognition awards, comes from a special NPS Park Steward Program. It encourages parks to hold a special annual volunteer event that results in the improvement of cultural or natural resources, or public services.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was designated a national park area in 1999. It was created to illustrate the history and significance of the Cold War, the arms race and intercontinental ballistic missile development. Coincidently, the historic site, a former nuclear launch control facility, was transferred to the NPS from the U.S. Air Force six years ago in 2002. For more information, contact VIP Coordinator Pam Griswold at (605) 433-5552 or visit www.nps.gov/mimi.