Caution: High Water Conditions on the Black Hills National Forest

Contact(s): Scott Jacobson, (605) 440-1409

Custer, SD, July 31, 2018 – Current rains have saturated the Black Hill National Forest and resulted in high water levels and swift currents at lakes and creeks. Many motorized and non-motorized forest trails and roads are also in poor condition.

The Forest Service urges caution as these conditions can create potential hazards for recreationalists, whether driving, hiking, biking, horseback riding or 4-wheeling.

Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and Black Elk Wilderness trails have experienced heavy rainfall, creating muddy trails, resulting in an increased potential for trail damage and other hazardous conditions.

“Using these muddy trails increases trail erosion,” said Samuel Ainsley, Acting Recreation & Wilderness Specialist, Hell Canyon Ranger District “and going around the muddy section creates more damage. We ask visitors to use trails responsibly.”

The Black Hills National Forest encourages all Forest users to follow Tread Lightly principles. Travel Responsibly. Respect the Rights of Others. Educate yourself. Avoid Sensitive Areas. Do Your Part. Visit the Tread Lightly website at for more information.

For questions on the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and Black Elk Wilderness, please contact the Hell Canyon Ranger District at (605) 673-9200. Contact a local District office for other Forest related questions.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit


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