Local homeowners speak out about impact ATVs have on roads, property

BLACK HILLS, S.D. — In 2020, the Black Hills National Forest Service sold a record amount of ATV permits, but what does that impact bring for homeowners and residents who live along these trails?

Rod and Jan Hines live along Mystic Road and love to entertain their grandchildren, who have problems with asthma.

“We couldn’t even let the children go outside to play. It would trigger their asthma so badly that it wasn’t safe. We never open windows, haven’t used our porches at all because the dust is so horrific,” the Hines said.

Other residents, like Jan and John Humphrey, who have lived along the Castle Peak Road for 20 years, say they’ve noticed the increased dust, damage to public roads, trails, land and say they’ve seen less wildlife in the past few years, since the boom of ATVs in the area – now, they’re moving on and moving out.

“We’ve been here 20 years and it’s time for us to kinda do something different but it also is just, you know, I’m tired of fighting the system. In a way, it just really got to me,” the Humphreys said.

The Humphrey’s brought their concerns to Ron Rossknecht, the vice chair of the Pennington County Commissioners.

Rossknecht says the issue could be solved with a limit on the number of passes and increased law enforcement personnel.

“I’m not saying don’t go out there and have fun on your ATV, I’m just saying let’s be equitable. Let’s limit the number of passes and better educate the general public and definitely increase law enforcement,” Rossknecht said.

In February, the Forest Service hosted an OHV summit to hear the concerns of residents and suggestions from stakeholders and partners.

An OHV Action Team, along with volunteers, is working now to help try to alleviate some of the problems and improve the trail systems in the Black Hills.

“Coming out of the OHV summit, we were dedicated to pulling together a group of folks who wanted to work with us, trying to make a great recreation opportunity even better for both our visitors and our residents here in the Black Hills,” said Jerry Krueger, Deputy Forest Supervisor, Black Hills National Forest.

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“Our volunteers are very passionate about the trail system. They’re very passionate about teaching people to be responsible and respectful when they’re out on the trails,” said Corbin Herman, Motorized Trail Program Coordinator for the Black Hills National Forest.

The Action Team plans to meet in the upcoming weeks to discuss the next steps.

Click here for more information on the Black Hills National Forest.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News