For many South Dakotans a favorite Memorial Day weekend pastime is spending time in the outdoors in an off-road vehicle.
But officials in the Black Hills are worried about damage to area back roads with recent rains and muddy conditions. Black Hills National Forest officials are delaying the opening of some forest roads that are popular for all terrain vehicles. Ruth Esperance is a district ranger for the Black Hills National Forest. She says keeping roads closed in extra muddy conditions saves tax dollars by reducing future road repair costs.
“We have soil types that very across the Black Hills and there’s some areas that can handle some of these really wet conditions that we’re seeing right now from that big snow storm and then the rain that we’ve been having. And then there are some other roads that just can’t quite hold up to that. And it’s those roads that we’re asking people to stay off of,” says Esperance
Esperance says that most of the seasonal roads should be open by the end of Memorial Day weekend. She urges motorists not to pass thru closed gates and report anyone doing costly damage to forest roads.
The areas listed below are seasonally closed for big game winter range, and will remain closed to motorized vehicles until roads dry out:
• Black Hawk area north of Rolling Hills Road
• Victoria area east of Victoria Lake Dam
• Powerhouse Gulch east of Pactola Reservoir
• Pine Grove area south of Rockerville
• Horse Creek area west of Sheridan Lake Reservoir
• Area east of Battle Ax Road to Hill City
• Lind Gulch south of Mystic
Seasonal gates that will remain closed will be opened as soon as road surface conditions improve.