Forest Service hosting Moon Walk featuring nocturnal insects

Photo by Jolyn Harder

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Forest Service is hosting a moonlight hike on Saturday near Pactola Reservoir in the central Black Hills.

The Moon Walk will take place on Aug. 17 beginning at 7 p.m. The hike will be led by USDA Forest Service entomologists who will be discussing nocturnal insects — specifically moths.

Participants will learn more about the biology of moth species that call the Black Hills home, why they matter and the advantages of being an insect at night. The walk will include a black light station showing some of the insects discussed.

“I’m very excited to have Forest Service entomologists Kendra Schotzko and Kurt Allen come and teach us about the importance of moths and other insects that play a vital role in our ecosystem,” said Halley Legge, Black Hills National Forest Moonwalk coordinator. “This program ties right into our 2019 Moon Walk pins we sell at each event. This year we have a moth in the design and the purchase goes into supporting future Moon Walks.”

Visitors should bring flashlights, water, and bug repellent and dress for unexpected weather and hiking on uneven terrain. Long pants and sturdy footwear (hiking boots or athletic shoes) are recommended for comfort and safety.

The Moon Walk will be located at the intersection of Victoria Lake Road (FS 159) and McCurdy Gulch Road (FS 165.1B) near Pactola Reservoir in the central Black Hills. If traveling from Rapid City, take Highway 44 west for approximately 18 miles. Then turn left on to Highway 385 heading south for approximately 4 miles to Victoria Lake Road, located south of Pactola Reservoir. Turn left on Victoria Lake Road (FS 159) and travel for approximately 1.3 miles to the parking area at intersection of McCurdy Gulch Road (FS 165.1B). The drive from Rapid City will take approximately 40 minutes. Signs will be posted at major intersections to guide visitors to the parking area.

The program may be cancelled unexpectedly for unforeseen reasons such as lightning and other factors beyond control. The program will not be cancelled due to rain unless it becomes unsafe due to lightning or severe weather. Organizers ask that participants arrive early to aid in parking vehicles as 140 visitors per walk have typically been attending the programs this summer.

For more information about the program and summer schedule go to and follow the Black Hills National Forest Facebook page at:

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News