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Black Elk Peak Trail 9 to temporarily close beginning Monday
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Black Elk Peak Trail 9 to temporarily close beginning Monday

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Hikers at Black Elk Peak take in the view just below the lookout tower.

Black Hills National Forest officials have issued a temporary closure order for Trail #9 South from its Black Elk Wilderness boundary to the endpoint on top of Black Elk Peak for public safety during trail maintenance operations.

The closure order is in effect from Aug. 24 to Oct. 1, unless revised or rescinded, whichever occurs first.

Black Elk Peak Trail #9 South is the most heavily used trail with approximately 500 visitors a day during peak use. Officials with the National Forest said allowing use on this trail during heavy maintenance could impede public safety and hinder trail maintenance operations.

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Old rock steps and trail features are in danger of eroding out of place, potentially causing dangerous conditions for trail users, a news release read. Trail crews will be installing drainage structures and moving large rocks for erosion control and stabilization of the trail.

Trail work will occur Monday through Thursday during the closure period and will not impact the entire length of the trail on any given day. Recreational use on segments of the trail where no active maintenance is occurring is allowed, the news release read.

The public should not expect to have access to Black Elk Peak and the fire lookout tower on the peak during this time. Forest officials are encouraging visitors to discover other scenic trails that the National Forest has to offer.

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

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