News

  • Dec 11, 2017
News, Projects, Rapid City, Spearfish, Sturgis

2017 Report, Relationships: USFS, SDGFP, Project Status

Relationships Black Hills Trails doesn’t exist just to build and maintain trails, but to connect communities with each other. Connecting communities means connecting people, and forming long-lasting relationships. Our efforts were rewarded this year with the deepening and creation of two significant relationships, one with the Black Hills National Forest and the other with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. These two organizations manage the majority of recreational trails in the Black Hills area. Relationships: Black Hills National Forest Forest-Wide Volunteer Agreement Black Hills Trails has entered a Forest-wide partnership with the Black Hills National Forest. This partnership doesn’t simply replace standing agreements, it expands and enhances the existing relationship between Black Hills Trails and the Black Hills National Forest. Similar to an agreement held by Black Hills Trails partner organization, Black Hills Back-Country Horsemen, the new agreement provides a framework for meeting each year with Forest Leadership to discuss and make plans for Forest-wide recreation priorities, including maintenance and development. The plans made under this new agreement will help Black Hills Trails and the Black Hills National Forest help each other to better meet the recreation needs of local communities than at any time in the past. Relationships: South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Bear Butte Trail Maintenance Black Hills Trails and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks began forging a relationship in 2017 that is already bearing fruit for the Black Hills community. The initial project undertaken as part of this coordinated trail and recreation effort was maintenance […]


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  • Mar 09, 2017
News

Rapid City Area Trails: A Historical Perspective

The recent dispute over Forest Service Special Use Permits for long-standing cycling and running events is a hot topic [2017-RCJ-1]. The history of these Rapid City area trails goes back more than 20 years. The events that have taken place over this long span can make it difficult, as a member of the public, to be adequately informed. If these trails are lost to nature as the Forest Service intends, it could set a precedent for the next 20 years. The Black Hills is unlike any other Forest and requires unique management. The area has just the right amount of wind, rain, and sun — Ponderosa Pine grows like weeds. Commercial timber harvests follow wherever pine grows thick. Without a proactive timber strategy walls of pine would stifle all forms of recreation. Recreational users welcome judicious logging, it keeps our Forest healthy. At the same time, there are more opportunities to adventure into the Forest here than almost any place one can imagine. Many towns are landlocked within the Black Hills National Forest. Thousands of private in-holdings sprinkle the 1.2 million acres. Residents traverse their Forest every day for much of their regular travel. The Black Hills is a place where people can, and do, hike or ride through their Forest from town to town. For those in search of adventure and a European back-country experience, the Black Hills area has been an uncharted, unmapped destination for decades.   You can’t even begin to imagine the red tape… Understanding the history begins with […]


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  • Jan 12, 2017
News

Black Hills Area Trail Groups Join Hands

Trail groups come together to work toward connecting communities (Spearfish and Sturgis, SD) – The group known as Northern Hills Trails has been the lead proponent in the development of a modern stacked loop trail system for hiking and cycling on Lookout Mountain in Spearfish, SD. Black Hills Trails has led the development of the recently completely 7th Cavalry Trail System on the Fort Meade Recreation Area in Sturgis. This trail system, designed for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding will connect to a new system south of Sturgis in the near future. This new system, the current focus of Black Hills Trails, will connect Sturgis to the serene Sturgis City Dams and to the summit of nearby Deadman Mountain. Moving forward both organizations will be consolidating their trail advocacy efforts under the Black Hills Trails banner. Merging Northern Hills Trails into Black Hills Trails brings together a significant pool of resources, expertise, and a unified voice that will result in more and faster progress on trail projects in the Northern Black Hills in the future. To get involved please join the Black Hills Trails email list on http://www.blackhillstrails.org/. Future news and opportunities to collaborate or volunteer will be announced on this website.   Contact Black Hills Trails http://www.blackhillstrails.org/ team@blackhillstrails.org  


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  • Apr 20, 2016
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
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
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
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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