Too much mud prompts Forest Service to close motorized trails

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CUSTER, S.D. (KOTA TV) -- If you were waiting to get out in the forest later this week when all the seasonal gates open up, well, you're going to have to wait a little longer.

The Forest Service announced Monday that all of the hundreds of gates that traditionally open on May 15 will remain closed indefinitely due to muddy roads.

In addition, the 750 miles of motorized trails in the Black Hills National Forest have been closed because the wet conditions. Motorized traffic on muddy trails can put deep ruts in them and cause damage that would be very expensive to repair.

"The amount of rain that we've gotten and snow that we've gotten this spring, it's just been so much that the roads have not dried out," said Scott Jacobson from the Black Hills National Forest. "The trails have not dried out and there's a lot of potential for resource damage in the forest and so we have elected at this point to keep those roads and trails closed just to give them a chance to dry out."

Jacobson said the Forest Service will evaluate the conditions daily in hopes of opening up the trails and gates but he noted that there is more rain in the forecast.