PIERRE, S.D. – The official start of the Black Hills snowmobile season began on Dec. 15, with the opening of the trails system there. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) officials remind the public that many portions of those trails are closed to ATV users.
“We don’t have much rideable snow, yet, and ATV users can cause potential damage to the trails,” said Black Hills trails manager Shannon Percy. “Many portions of the snowmobile trail system travel through private property that is leased for snowmobile use only. With the low snow accumulation, the gates for the snowmobile trails are open, but UTV and ATV users must remember that these trails are not available to them.”
Though the trails are open, they are currently not being groomed because of low snow amounts. Snowmobile trail maps can be picked up at various businesses along the trails. Riders can request a copy by calling 605.584.3896 or 605.773.2885.
“We encourage all recreational riders to be aware of the trail systems and get a snowmobile map,” Percy said. “On the snowmobile trail map, everything that is colored in white is private leased land designed specifically for snowmobile use only.”
Trail condition updates are posted to Twitter accounts dedicated to both the Black Hills and the East River trails (twitter.com/SDsnowBHills and twitter.com/SDsnowEast). With various cameras along the trails, current images of snow conditions can be found online at gfp.sd.gov/snowmobiling.
A $20 snowmobile motorcycle trail pass is available for residents who use a motorcycle conversion kit. Those permits can be picked up at the Black Hills Trails office in Lead, 605.584.3896, or at Farm Island Recreation Area in Pierre, 605.773.2885.
The snowmobile season runs until March 31.