Cook Lake and the surrounding area is an attractive recreation destination,” said Craig Bobzien, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor, “yet, public safety is our number one priority. After carefully evaluating the seasonal temporary reduced risk of landslides near the lake, conditions allow for the area to be opened temporarily to allow day-use access for ice fishing and other winter recreation."
For public safety, an area closure order was issued in 2014 for the Cook Lake Recreational Area and surrounding area by Black Hills National Forest Supervisor, Craig Bobzien.
“The “dry and frozen” winter conditions in the Cook Lake Recreation Area at this time of year are the least likely time to expect accelerated mass earth movement to occur,” said Black Hills National Forest North Zone Geologist, Karl Emanuel.
Forest officials remain concerned of the potential for landslide movements on the west hillside of the Cook Lake Recreational Area and surrounding area if saturated soils caused by spring rain and melting snow return. (Please see map for specific location.) The Black Hills National Forest will re-activate the Cook Lake Recreation Area closure order with a return of saturated soil conditions or if other indications increase the potential for a mass earth movement.
“Landslides have occurred in and near this area in the past,” said Steve Kozel, Bearlodge District Ranger. “The Cook Lake Recreation Area is temporarily open for day-use only, from sunrise to sunset, with no overnight use,” said Kozel. Forest officials recommend that visitors use caution on the ice and do not drive vehicles on the frozen lake, since recent warm temperatures and under water springs may have weakened the ice.
The road barricades near the Cook Lake campground and surrounding area are temporarily open. Forest personnel will continue to monitor the area for changing conditions.
The Cook Lake Complex consists of 32 campsites and 12 picnic units. The complex includes two hiking trails, Cook Lake Trail and Cliff Swallow Trail. Forest Recreation Management (FRM), a Concessionaire, operates the complex during the late spring to early fall months and the Bearlodge Ranger District manages the complex during the shoulder season.
For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhillsor call (605) 673-9200.