Black Hills National Forest seasonal closures beginning earlier than planned

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Due to the forecasted winter storm, seasonal gates and recreation sites in the Black Hills National Forest that are not open through the winter will begin closing Monday December 12, three days sooner than the planned December 15 closing date. Recreationalists are being advised that depending on the forecast and inclement weather locations, some gates will be closed, while others may remain open through Dec. 15.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, gates are closed to provide a seasonal refuge for wildlife, protect road and trail surfaces and other resources, and provide for public safety as some of the roads are converted into part of the snowmobile trail system. Seasonally closed roads and trails are identified on the current Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM).

Black Hills National Forest officials are asking the public to avoid parking in front of closed Forest gates. “Forest employees may be working behind the closed gate and are unable to exit the area if a vehicle has parked in front of the gate,” said Scott Jacobson, Public Affairs Officer, Black Hills National Forest.

Seasonal closures also occur at many of the recreation sites including some campgrounds and picnic areas. A list of campground sites that remain open during the winter can be found here.

Most restroom facilities and trash collection are closed for the season. The Forest encourages winter recreationists to practice “pack it in, pack it out” during the off-season.

National Forest System roads are not plowed or maintained during the winter. For those that do travel or recreate in remote areas, please be aware of the local weather conditions and be prepared with appropriate gear.

Seasonal recreation sites and roads typically reopen in mid-May, conditions permitting.

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