Ice fishermen and ice skaters will also soon be able to enjoy their sport on the area lakes and reservoirs. Please remember that boat ramps are not plowed or maintained for access to the ice at Pactola Reservoir, Deerfield Reservoir and Sheridan Lake. Ice conditions fluctuate and anglers and skaters are reminded to use caution when travelling over the ice. Check the newspaper and at local fishing and bait shops for local ice conditions and fishing reports. Also a reminder, there will be no water this winter in Horsethief, Lakota and Bismarck Lakes. They have been drained to remove sediment and improve water quality for the future.
The snowmobile trail program is a cooperative effort between the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Recreation Department and the Black Hills National Forest. 2014/2015 maps may be picked up at the Game Fish and Parks Recreation office in Lead, at any Forest Service Office or other visitor information offices in various towns throughout the Black Hills and also online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhillsand http://gfp.sd.gov/to-do/snowmobile/map.aspx.
“Please do not drive snowmobiles on plowed roads. Plowed roads are used for full sized vehicles and there is a real possibility that you may encounter a loaded log truck that doesn’t have the ability to stop quickly, especially on icy roads,” said Bonnie Jones, Black Hills National Forest Recreation Specialist.
Several of the Forest's hiking trails are open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months, including the Deerfield Lake Loop Trail, Eagle Cliff Trails, Big Hill Trails, Sundance Trail system, and the Beaver Creek Ski Trails. Big Hill & Eagle Cliff Trails are partially groomed in cooperation with the Black Hills Nordic Ski Club and Eagle Cliff Ski Association. “Please practice trail courtesy and share the trail,” said Dave Pickford, Black Hills National Forest Recreation Specialist. “Snowshoe hikers, please use the unbroken snow beside cross country skier tracks and not on top of ski tracks.” Many other trails are also available and information can be found online at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/blackhills/recreation/wintersports
Officials ask Forest visitors to always be aware of their surroundings. Recently thinned areas are sometimes subject to blow down of remaining live trees that depended on adjacent trees for support during strong winds. Winter recreationists should be especially aware when nearing dead trees, whether or not there is wind, as dead trees have been known to fall without warning.
Please visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/blackhills/recreation/wintersports for more information on winter recreation in the Black Hills National Forest.