Black Hills National Forest ● Public Affairs Office ● 1019 N. 5th Street

Custer, SD 57730 ● Voice (605) 673-9216 ● Web:

Contact: Scott Jacobson, (605) 673-9216 or cell (605) 440-1409
Date: 05/15/14

Several Forest Roads to Open Late this Spring

Custer, SD – Many roads and trails on the Black Hills National Forest will open late this spring due to unfavorable traveling conditions.

Generally on May 15th, seasonal gates across the Forest are opened to the public, but this year many of the roads are still too muddy and some impassable from snow or debris left from last October’s storm. In order to avoid road and resource damage, the Forest Service will wait until conditions improve and roads dry out before opening gates. These routes may be opened in a staggered fashion as some roads may improve more quickly than others.

Particularly hard hit this spring is the Northern Hills Ranger District but some gates on the Mystic District will also remain closed until conditions improve. Please keep in mind even when a gate is open it does not mean that the road or trail is passable. Even on roads without gates, forest visitors should still be alert for downed trees, soft road beds, high flowing creeks, or other dangerous conditions.

North Zone Engineer, Dave Plummer, said “Higgins Gulch is closed due to large rocks that have fallen in the road making it impassable.” The roads need to be safe for visitors before officials can open the gates. “We also want to prevent damage that can be expensive and take time to fix.”

Ben Schumacher, Trails Technician on the Mystic Ranger District, reported many of the motorized trails and several roads would not be opened yet due to numerous down and dangerously hanging trees.

“Roads in the Black Hawk area will remain closed because they intersect with areas on the Northern Hills District that could not be opened yet, said Schumacher. “We don’t want anyone getting trapped behind a closed gate because it was opened on one side and not the other.”

For more information about where these routes are located please call your local Ranger District Office, refer to the Alerts and Notices section on the Black Hills National Forest webpage or become a follower of the Forest Twitter feed.


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