Black Hills streams are running high and fast, and the Forest Service says there is an increased danger this summer for waders, swimmers, and fishermen. In addition, muddy banks are creating slippery conditions that can get anyone who ventures near the water into trouble pretty quickly.
“The reservoirs are as full as they’ve ever been. The streams are probably flowing as fast and full as they’ve been in years around here in July and August. And so, yeah, we’ve got a lot of water in the forest,” said Scott Jacobson, with the Black Hills National Forest.
Streams have flooded backwoods roads in some places and washed out the road surface in others.
An unwary traveler might be taken by surprise on a winding, hilly, dirt road.
That brings up another danger. Some roads are extremely muddy and soft. It’s easy to get stuck. And getting stuck, miles from help, can be more adventure than most people consider prudent.
“A lot of the roads are extremely wet, especially in low-lying areas. And if people aren’t paying attention, they can slide off a road and get stuck. And so, it’s important to pay attention to the road surface when they’re out there,” said Jacobson.
Roads themselves are also at risk when conditions are wet. Anyone plowing through muddy sections of roads create ruts and potholes that can be dangerous for the next traveler.
“If there are muddy roads out there and people continue to use the roads when it’s muddy, it causes resource damage and causes the ruts in the road. It’s tough to repair that,” said Jacobson.
The Forest Service warns that going around muddy areas can create more damage by widening the road, and opening up new ruts and potholes.