Wilderness and Preserved Areas

Aerial WildernessCongress established the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve in 1920 for the "protection of game animals and birds and to be recognized as a breeding place therefore."  The preserve covers about 35,000 acres, 25,000 of which are managed by the Forest Service.  Most of the rest of Norbeck is part of Custer State Park.  Norbeck is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.  It also contains rugged granite formations, small lakes, scenic drives, and hiking trails.

Black Elk Wilderness is in the center of the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve. It is the only wilderness area in the Black Hills & is sacred to many American Indians. The area is named for the Oglala Sioux spiritual leader Black Elk and is sacred to many American Indians.  It is the only Wilderness at Black Hills National Forest and currently spans over 13,426 acres. 

Please view the special regulations associated with Wilderness and always use Leave No Trace techniques to help keep this area wild, clean, and pristine.

Wilderness Information

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