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Due to extremely wet conditions, the Black Hills National Forest is temporarily prohibiting any use of motorized trails in the forest, according to a news release.

Additionally, seasonally closed gates that were set to open this week will remain closed until conditions improve.

The restricted area covers the entire Black Hills National Forest Motorized Trail System in both Wyoming and South Dakota. There are many roads — as opposed to lesser-maintained trails — that remain open, but forest officials are asking motorists to use caution even on the roads.

"While some roads are open, we are asking users to avoid driving in areas where there are wet and muddy conditions to help protect road surfaces and reduce erosion," said Scott Jacobson, public affairs officer for the Black Hills National Forest.

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The conditions make it dangerous for vehicle travel on the trails, due to the slippery mud and standing water, the Forest Service said. Vehicular travel in wet conditions also poses a greater risk of erosion on the trail.

Damaging forest roads and lands is against the law. The legal and financial consequences can be steep, and damages done to the land can take years to repair.

The public is encouraged to report rutting of roads, meadows, trails or other areas across the forest to local Ranger District offices.

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