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Black Hills National Forest releases draft assessment for Zeppelin Project

The Black Hills National Forest is looking for public comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment for the Zeppelin Project.

The project area includes 794 acres of private land and 10,337 acres of public land south of Sturgis. The area is between Vanocker Canyon Road in the west, Elk Creek in the north, Dalton Lake Road and Little Elk Creek in the south, and the forest boundary in the east.

The Forest Service proposes vegetation treatments to thin dense pine stands and creating fuel breaks.

Officials said this would reduce potential mountain pine beetle outbreaks and wildfire severity. They add that the project contributes to local economies by providing commercial products and employment opportunities.

Public comment on the environmental assessment is accepted until June 9.

Ryan is the local host of "Morning Edition". Originally from Iowa, he first came to the Black Hills to study at SD Mines. After graduating in 2019, he was an educator in Arizona and North Dakota before returning to the Black Hills.