Cook Lake Complex and Surrounding Area Closed for Public Safety

Release Date: May 9, 2014  

Contact(s): Steve Kozel, Bearlodge District Ranger, (307) 283-1361


Sundance, WY - For public safety, an area closure order has been issued today for the Cook Lake Recreational Area and surrounding area by Black Hills National Forest Supervisor, Craig Bobzien.

Due to saturated soils caused by continued spring rain and melting snow, Forest officials are concerned of the potential for landslide movements on the west hillside of the Cook Lake Recreational Area and surrounding area. (Please see map for specific location.)

"We all know Cook Lake and the surrounding area is an attractive recreation destination,” said Craig Bobzien, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor, “yet, public safety is our number one priority. After carefully evaluating the elevated risk of landslides near the lake, we decided it was best to keep the public out of harm's way under these conditions."

“Landslides have occurred in and near this area in the past,” said Steve Kozel, Bearlodge District Ranger. “If or when another landslide will occur is uncertain. What is certain is that we are coming off a wetter than average year and the winter snowpack from the 2013-2014 winter was much higher than average creating prime landslide conditions.”

The Cook Lake campground and surrounding area have been evacuated and road barricades have been set-up. Please review the closure order and map for more information. Forest personnel, will continue to monitor the area for changing conditions. The area will remain closed until further notice.

"The safety of the public must always come first,” said Ty Gerbracht, Operations Manager, Forest Recreation Management, Inc. “We support this decision and the Forest Service on this matter. I would like to apologize for the inconvenience this has caused some of our customers and look forward to the day when the facility can re-open for recreation."

The Cook Lake Complex consists of 32 campsites and 12 picnic units. The complex includes two hiking trails, Cook Lake Trail and Cliff Swallow Trail. Forest Recreation Management (FRM), a Concessionaire, operates the complex during the late spring to early fall months and the Bearlodge Ranger District manages the complex during the shoulder season.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit, http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills or call (605) 673-9200.

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