Wyoming considers empty missile silo for historic designation

2014-03-22T08:30:00Z Wyoming considers empty missile silo for historic designationBy JOAN BARRON Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
March 22, 2014 8:30 am  • 

CASPER, Wyo. — During last month’s budget session, Sen. Jim Anderson, of Glenrock, said it appeared Wyoming State Parks will soon need to hold bake sales to raise money.

It’s doubtful those will be used to raise funds for state parks, but an interim committee of the Wyoming Legislature will be looking at other possibilities for revenue.

Wyoming is on the same track as other states, eying creative endeavors to keep parks open in a time of restricted revenues.

Possible donation

One idea is for the state to ask the federal government to donate an abandoned Peacekeeper missile site north of Cheyenne.

The state would then make it a state historic site to recognize Wyoming’s Cold War contributions.

“We currently don’t have any historical site in our state system that interprets our rich Cold War history,” said Milward Simpson, director of the Department of Parks and Cultural Resources.

“The Peacekeeper was the most advanced weapon ever designed by the mind of man, and it was only located in Wyoming,” he added.

“It is very, very significant in the Cold War history.”

Filling in sites

The most recent Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty called for the decommissioned missile sites to be filled in. If the state is going to preserve one of them, now is the time.

The missile silo is in sight of Interstate 25 on the west side about halfway between Cheyenne and Chugwater.

Sen. Bruce Burns, R-Sheridan, the chairman of the Senate Travel, Recreation and Wildlife Committee, said Wednesday that he finds the site fascinating but also has concerns.

“I don’t know how many other people would (approve of the designation), or more to the point, how many legislators would because we would need money to restore this,” he said.

Funding constraints

Other states have closed their parks because of funding constraints, and Burns believes the Legislature should look at getting rid of some of Wyoming’s historic sites.

“Not all historic sites are particularly (historic),” he said. “When you look at history, often times something was named a historic site or a park based on who was in the Legislature at the time.”

He said legislators should look seriously at the list and prioritize where the money goes.

Wyoming has dozens of historic sites, ranging from the stark Ames Monument west of Cheyenne to the historical offerings of the Pioneer Museum at Douglas.

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