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Dakota Midday: Best Job In The West? Forest Service Crew Keeps Wilderness Trails Clear

There are 473 hike-able trails in the Black Hills.  And like roads, hiking trails require maintenance.   Much of that work—like clearing fallen trees over the path, fixing bridge crossings, or replacing washed out areas—is done the old fashioned way, by hand, with picks, axes and shovels.

In late May, seven inches of rain and hail ripped through Iron Creek Trail in the Black Hills south of Keystone. The storm damaged many of the horse and hiker stream crossings in and around the Black Elk Wilderness area.

This "audio postcard" follows the U.S. Forest Service maintenance crew as they work to repair damaged Black Hills trails.

Trail maintenance crew members say the trail clearing project along Iron Creek will likely take all summer with off and on efforts between other trail work in Black Elk Wilderness and Norbeck Wildlife preserve.   

David Pickford
Jonathan Manning
Erik Dolezal
Karen Pinkerton

Rest of the crew:
Emily Trappe
Rylee Peterson
Keegan McKye
Kris Higgins