U.S. Forest Service

Victoria Wicks

Rapid Creek in the Black Hills has been named one of the most endangered rivers in the United States. The designation comes from American Rivers, a conservation group headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The organization says gold mining and exploration threaten this South Dakota river that supplies drinking water for around 90,000 people.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

Victoria Wicks

The U.S. Forest Service is not allowed to say no to mining, but it can insist on protections for surface resources. That fact emerged during an open house held at the Mystic District station in the Black Hills last week.

A Minneapolis prospecting company, F3 Gold, wants to drill exploratory holes near Pactola Reservoir in the Silver City area, and residents showed up to ask questions and express concerns.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Victoria Wicks

A gold prospecting company wants to drill exploratory holes in the Silver City area, near Pactola Reservoir in the Black Hills.

The Mystic District of the U.S. Forest Service held an open house last week to offer information and explain how people can make written comments.

Area residents expressed concerns, not only about mining, but also about the hearing process.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Vineyard Fire Burns More Than 450 Acres

Aug 13, 2018
Chynna Lockett

A fire that sparked near Hot Springs Saturday night is estimated to have burned more than 450 acres of land. The flames reportedly started near a vineyard and spread into surrounding hills.

Joseph Johndreau works with the U.S. Forest Service in Chadron Nebraska. He’s the Public Information Officer for the Vineyard Fire. Recent reports say the fire is five percent contained.

Jerry Krueger / Black Hills National Forest

U.S. Forest Service officials want public input on a plan to make the Black Hills more resilient in the future.   

The goal of the Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project is to make the forest ready for a changing climate.  That includes challenges like the pine beetle epidemic and a potential for increased forest fires.

Forest service officials say much of the Black Hills has moved away from the desired conditions described in a Management Plan created 20 years ago.

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

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.

Library of Congress

In the summer of 1910, a massive wildfire devoured more than three million acres in the Northern Rockies in 36 hours. Some 78 firefighters perished in the flames. The catastrophe occurred at time when the U.S. Forest Service was only a few years old, firefighting was a primitive science and conservation of America’s public lands was controversial. Over a century later, the legacy of what's become known as the Big Burn can be measured in the growth of the U.S. Forest Service and fire suppression policies.