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December 11, 2012 06:05 PM

Black Hills Snowmobile Trails Ready For Weekend

Lawrence County, SD

If you like snowmobiling, you're in luck.  Officials in the Black Hills are preparing to open more than 300 miles of snowmobile trails this weekend.

"Right now we've got close to a foot, 8-10 inches of snow.  Not quite enough yet to start the groomers, but we're looking forward to getting a few more inches so we can get those grooming operations started," Game, Fish, & Parks Supervisor Shannon Percy said.

"Once we get a little bit more snow, we'll start grooming, but we're going to have all of the gates open and all of the signs up and everything in place," Bonnie Jones with the Forest Service said.

If you plan on coming out for this weekend's opener, make sure to get a trail map.  That's because 58 miles of trails have been rerouted due to logging operations.

"Up around Trailshead Lodge and O'Neill Pass and then also near Cement Ridge we've had some serious trail moveage...  That's not even a word (laughs)," Percy said.

But all humor aside, keeping snowmobilers away from logging operations is no laughing matter.

"Snowmobiles move really fast. So if the logging equipment and the operator cannot see the snowmobile out there, there's a real good possibility that somebody could get hurt," Jones said.

With this weekend's opener right on schedule, officials are hopeful that it's the start of another great season.

"Our snowmobile counts were up last year over the previous year, so we're looking forward to hopefully the same thing happening," Percy said.

But that all depends on a little more help from Mother Nature.

To ride the Black Hills snowmobile trails, your sled must be licensed in South Dakota or another state.  That costs $10.  If your snowmobile isn't licensed, a five-day trail pass will cost you $40.

Interactive Trail Map

Go along for the ride and check out the conditions by watching the following video.

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