Custer, SD – December 15, 2016 marks the beginning of winter recreation on the Black Hills National Forest as Forest officials open snowmobile, cross-country ski and snowshoe trails in the Black Hills area and close seasonal gates and recreation sites that do not remain open through the winter.
Gates are closed to provide a seasonal refuge for wildlife, protect road surfaces and other resources, and provide for public safety as some of the roads are converted into part of the snowmobile trail.
Seasonal closures also occur at many of the recreation sites including some campgrounds and picnic areas. Click here to see a list of campground sites that remain open in the off-season. Most restroom facilities and trash collection are closed for the season.
As a safety reminder, use extreme caution when driving on forest system roads as the road ahead may become impassable or hazardous due to ice and snow cover. National Forest System roads are not plowed or maintained during the winter.
“If heading to the woods this winter, make safety a priority,” said Scott Jacobson, Public Affairs Officer on the Black Hills National Forest. “Always carry extra clothing/blankets, food, water, first aid supplies, a fully charged communication device and let someone know where you are headed and when you expect to return before you go.”
Seasonal recreation sites and roads typically re-open mid-May, weather depending.
For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills, follow the Forest on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/blackhillsnf or Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlackHillsNF