Forest Service closes some local trails, roads for winter

RAPID CITY, S.D.– The U.S. Forest Service is asking the public to be mindful of any closed gates in the area.

A Closed Gate In The Sheridan Lake AreaDuring their off-season, some roads and trails are closed off for the protection of wildlife, as part of their winter range. Some of the trails are also used as snow mobile trails for employees to get around.

Also important is for people to not park in front of the gates, as crews are still working, and need access to entering and leaving the area.

“We have employees that are working out in the forest. We have loggers that are working behind closed gates. We have utility companies out on occasion that will need to get behind the gate to go work on a powerline. And so, when people park up against a gate and they block that so people can’t get out, it causes a problem,” Public Affairs Officer for the Black Hills National Forest Scott Jacobson explained. “We’re just asking the public’s help to maybe park back a bit or park to the side so, if people come out that gate, they can actually go home safely.”

Closing off trails and roads during the winter also helps with maintaining pre-existing paths for continued use.

“So these roads get a lot of snow and moisture over the winter. And of course, when it’s a warm day they thaw and roads can get torn up if we’re not protecting them as well,” Jacobson explained. “It saves us some time and energy by keeping vehicles off these roads, and also protecting our wildlife that are out there.”

The U.S. Forest Service also has hard-copy maps available at their stations for residents to pick up. They also have a list of local vendors that have the maps available.

Digital files are available as well, and can be found on their page here.

Categories: Local News