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Northern Hills Moon Walk scheduled for Saturday

Northern Hills Moon Walk scheduled for Saturday

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The Black Hills National Forest will hold its second Moon Walk program of the year at 7 p.m. Saturday, near Jenny Gulch. The Forest Service said the educational hike will be one-half mile round-trip.

Because of limited parking, the Forest Service is encouraging visitors to carpool.

Featured speakers Corissa Busse and Lori Brown, both of The Nature Conservancy, will discuss the role beavers play in our ecosystem.

“Beavers are nature’s ecosystem engineers,” Busse said. “They help restore and protect our landscape from drought, wildfire, and more — and create some of the most lush, diverse, culturally significant and wildlife friendly areas of the forest and prairies. But in many areas, beavers have been removed from our streams for centuries and need our help to recover.”

Participants will learn about the power and future potential of stream restoration in the Black Hills area, the effects of this work across western South Dakota, and the role of beavers in this effort.

To reach the Moon Walk from Rapid City, drive west on State Highway 44 for 14 miles to U.S. Highway 385. Turn right toward Deadwood and continue north for 1.4 miles, then turn left onto Silver City Road.

Travel 2.1 miles to Jenney Gulch Road and turn right onto Forest Service Road 261. Travel approximately 1.4 miles to the Moon Walk site. Signs will be posted at major intersections to help locate the parking area, the Forest Service said. Wildlife and raptors are commonly seen along this route and the Forest Service encourages visitors to take enough time to enjoy the forest.

Visitors are also encouraged to bring flashlights, water, bug repellant, and dress for cooler evening temperatures. Long pants and sturdy footwear, such as hiking boots or athletic shoes, are recommended for comfort and safety while hiking on uneven terrain.

According to a news release from the Forest Service, the program may be canceled unexpectedly for unforeseen reasons such as lightning, high fire danger forecasts, and other sporadic safety reasons. The program will not be canceled due to rain unless lightning is spotted.

If the Moon Walk is canceled in advance, due to severe weather forecasted, the notice of cancellation will be placed on the Black Hills National Forest Facebook page, Twitter account and the Black Hills National Forest website. The Forest Service encourages the public to check online before heading out to the event.

The Forest Service said visitors should arrive early to aid in parking vehicles, as more than 100 visitors per walk have been attending the programs.

The Black Hills National Forest, in partnership with Black Hills Parks & Forests Association, is selling Black Hills Moon Walk collector pins. This year’s pin, 1.125-inches in diameter, features a beaver swimming with a branch in its mouth. A different designed pin is anticipated each year.

The 2021 Black Hills Moon Walk pin can be purchased for $5 cash only, at the Moon Walk program. The purchase of the pin directly supports Moon Walks and other educational programs at the Black Hills National Forest.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills/.

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