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  • Apr 20, 2016
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News, Projects

Improving trail accessibility with roll over gates

The Northern Black Hills has a bit of history with above-ground cattle guards. In 1993, several of the devices were installed on the Fort Meade Recreation Area outside of Sturgis. Around the same time, several more were installed on the Bearlodge Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest in Wyoming. In the intervening years, thirty or more of these “roll over gates” have been installed throughout the Northern Black Hills. They have proven themselves in the field, with reduced instances of walk-through gates being left open and cattle being let out, and to date, there have been no reports of stock being injured by them. They have also proven to be remarkably durable for simple timber structures made from nothing more than 2″x6″ dimensional treated lumber and nails or screws. Those first roll over gates installed in 1993 did not receive any maintenance until Public Lands Day in 2013, and while several of the “treads” were replaced, the devices were still fully functional. As a result of their simple construction, they are also easy to repair in the field — even deep in the back-country — with nothing more than basic hand tools. Many times these devices are referred to as a THAD (pronounced Tee Head) by locals. The acronym is the subject of some debate, but typically Trail Head Access Device, or Trail Head Animal Deterrent, depending on which of the folks with a long memory happen to be telling the tale. The newest design is in three […]


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  • Dec 08, 2015
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News, Projects, Sturgis

We need your help connecting communities

Black Hills Trails is working hard to connect communities in the Northern Black Hills. A major step in this vision is right around the corner and we need your help to make it happen. In addition to the many miles of trail we help maintain, Black Hills Trails and our volunteers have built about two miles of new trail each year, for the past three years. The progress has been slow and steady, but thanks to our resolve and the continual willingness of dedicated volunteers to show up and move dirt, the opportunity to do much more is at hand. Black Hills Trails has recently entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management to build the 7th Cavalry Trail System on the Fort Meade Recreation Area east of Sturgis. Progress on this is already underway, but there are more than twenty miles of new trail to build in the near future. The City of Sturgis has recently approved the development of new trails into the City Dams, or Davenport Dams, that will be integral to a much larger Deadman Mountain Trail Project that Black Hills Trails is working in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to achieve. A conservative estimate puts the costs associated with finishing these projects over the next several years at more than $75,000. These costs include an expansion of the supplies and equipment available to our volunteers, contract construction services for the work we will be unable to complete ourselves, and the materials necessary to add proper […]


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  • Oct 14, 2015
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News, Projects, Sturgis

Sturgis Watershed & City Dams Access

Your rights to access public lands are at stake, we need your help! Background – In the 1970’s the City of Sturgis purchased the domestic water distribution and storage infrastructure from the Jarvis Davenport heirs that was originally built in the early 1900’s. Due to EPA regulations the above ground water storage system AKA “City Dams” was abandoned as a source of drinking water for the City of Sturgis. For the last 30 years the only persons utilizing the City Dam property have been recreational in nature through executive privilege or outright trespass. No public access to this public land has been allowed. The 501(c)(3) not for profit Black Hills Trails has proposed including the City Dam property in a stacked loop multiple option non-motorized trail system that is directly accessible from several trailheads within the Sturgis City limits and several trailheads located on BLM and US Forest Service property. This system would encompass the Fort Meade Recreation Area managed by the BLM, City of Sturgis property adjacent to the Bear Butte Cemetery, the Barry Stadium, and the City Dams, along with USFS property on Deadman Mountain, and along Alkali Creek. When completed, recreational users will have access to loops of length from only a couple miles to 50 miles, or more, all starting and finishing in the city limits of Sturgis. Additionally, new water born recreation never before open to the public will be made available in addition to many possible historic interpretative possibilities. Progress to date includes: New trail from the Lions Club […]


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  • Oct 06, 2015
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News, Projects, Sturgis

Sturgis Trail Project Reaches Significant Milestone

For Immediate Release                                                                         October 6, 2015 Sturgis Trail Project Reaches Significant Milestone Funding secured for three mile accessible trail loop around Fort Meade (Sturgis, SD) – The City of Sturgis has secured $250,000 in funding through the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) to construct a three mile trail around the Fort Meade Veterans Administration Hospital (VA). The trail will be handicapped accessible and will tie into key existing facilities and points of interest. The new trail will enrich the experience of hospital guests and create a new recreation opportunity for VA staff and area residents by connecting the Fort Meade Trailhead including the Fort Meade Recreation Area Trail System and Centennial Trail. The new trail will also link the Sturgis Bike Path, Barry Stadium, and Fort Meade Museum. The Bureau of Land Management, VA, the City of Sturgis, Sturgis Parks Department, and area non-profit Black Hills Trails have been collaborating on the development of an extensive stacked loop recreational trail system in and around the City of Sturgis since 2013. This new accessible loop trail is a significant milestone in that collaboration. Future goals of this group initiative include connecting these trails with proposed trail systems on Deadman Mountain and in the Sturgis Watershed, and ultimately to connect area communities. To get involved please subscribe to […]


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  • Apr 22, 2015
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Projects, Sturgis

Public meeting! New trail network coming to the City of Riders!

Black Hills Trails Members have worked with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for more than 20 years to maintain and enhance the user established Fort Meade Recreation Area trails in Sturgis. The Fort Meade Recreation Area provides a back-country setting immediately accessible from town and has long been enjoyed by those residents and visitors who are fortunate enough to know about the scenery and diversity of recreation contained within its borders. The blood, sweat and tears of many volunteers is now paying dividends as the BLM adopts a proposal championed by Black Hills Trails to significantly improve Fort Meade Recreation Area trails and turn them into an official trail network. This proposal has now entered a public comment period, one of the final hurdles before Black Hills Trails can put boots on the ground and build more world-class trails. Black Hills Trails and the Bureau of Land Management would like to invite everyone with an interest in this project to a public meeting at the Alkali Creek Campground/Trailhead from 4:30 to 6:30 PM on Thursday, April 30. Attendees will learn more about the proposed changes and be given the opportunity to provide feedback, as well as learn how to become more involved. To get to the Alkali Creek Campground, take I-90 Exit 34 (by the National Cemetery) then travel north on the BLM road for about 1/4 mile to the campground which is identified by signage. Black Hills Trails invites you to attend, even if you have no comments, […]


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  • Oct 07, 2014
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News, Sturgis, Volunteering

Update, Appreciation and Progress

Recap In 2013 the City of Sturgis approved the donation of funds to our organization to purchase trail equipment that would help to develop a new trail on City property-The Lions Club Park Trail. Formal trail building began last September and was completed in the spring of 2014. Labor of Love Well over 600 volunteer hours  went into developing this first mile of trail. Based on Independent Sector Organizations hourly value of a South Dakota volunteer, that is more than $11,000 worth of community commitment! Additionally, a few community members donated money to help the organization cover its 2014 insurance cost. Dr Tom Herman, Keith Smit, and Mike Strain, Thanks! Black Hills Trails would be unable to continue in this mission without support like yours. Pictured from left: Dr Tom Herman, Keith Smit, Kevin Forrester (Black Hills Trails) and Mike Strain Enjoying The Fruits… Two community events have already been held on the trail: The Sturgis Volksmarch (organized by Sturgis Area Chamber), and Brandon’s Memorial Malibu Run (organized by Taylar Applegate and Delzer family) Sturgis Volksmarch Brandon’s Memorial Malibu Run. “Save This Date” Photo Session on New Trail First Trail Build Day The First Fall trail Build day of 2014 was held September 27th. Fourteen volunteers showed up to help work on the Lions Club park trail. Much needed trail touch ups were taken care of, stumps and rocks removed and climbing turns refined. In addition, 300 feet of new trail was built. Black Hills Trails provided the tools and instruction, Sturgis Coffee Company provided coffee, Angie Ondriezek […]


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  • Sep 30, 2013
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News, Projects, Sturgis, Volunteering, Whitewood

Project Status Update

Part of the mission Black Hills Trails continues to pursue is connecting our local communities to each other and connecting our communities to points of interest with beautiful ribbons of trail. A great deal of progress was made toward that goal last weekend with two successful volunteer trail build days. …


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