Dumont, SD – The mountain pine beetle epidemic will affect a major Black Hills snowmobile route in the Dumont area when the trail system opens for the season on Dec. 15.

According to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks and the U.S. Forest Service, portions of snowmobile Trail 2 in the Northern Hills Ranger District will be closed to snowmobiling this winter so trees infested with the beetles can be removed. Crews need cut the infested trees before the beetles take flight next summer, searching for new trees to infest.

Trail 2 that follows Forest Service Road (FSR) 206 south of Dumont toward Black Fox Campground has been removed, and Trail 2 in the vicinity of FSR 209 and the Long Draw area has been re-routed. A new Trail 2C was added in the vicinity of Crooks Tower to connect Trail 6 with the remainder of Trail 2 for access to the warming shelter at Black Fox campground. view map

Officials say re-routing of the snowmobile trail system will likely be common in the next several years to accommodate efforts to get the pine beetle epidemic under control.

Snowmobilers are also advised to avoid off-trail travel in areas of active logging. The Forest Service estimates up to 100 trucks a day could come out of the Long Draw, Bulldog Ranch and Dumont areas. Snowmobiles are small and fast moving, making them difficult for logging traffic to see.

Snowmobile trails will be open in the Black Hills National Forest from Dec. 15 to March 31, 2012.

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