PIERRE, S.D. – Snowmobile trails in South Dakota are scheduled to open today, but trail officials are still waiting to see what the storm brings.
“The Black Hills has seen minimal snowfall so far this season,” said Black Hills Trails district supervisor, Shannon Percy. “Grooming operations will be limited until we see additional accumulation.
Percy would like to remind riders that some obstacles exist throughout the 350-mile Black Hills Trails system due to the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic.
“Snowmobilers should be aware that trees, broken tree tops and dangling branches can fall at any time while riding on and off-trail,” said Percy. “Please be aware of your surroundings as trees and debris may cause obstructions.”
Eastern South Dakota saw significant accumulations in November, but most of that snow has since melted. Current projections have snow accumulations adding up in some parts of central and eastern South Dakota.
“Heaviest snow accumulation is expected Tuesday into in western and central South Dakota,” said state snowmobile trails coordinator Ryan Raynor. “Typically we wait for 4-5 inches before grooming operations begin, and according to current projects some areas could see that and then some.”
Snowmobile clubs in eastern South Dakota groom, sign and maintain over 1,200 miles of trails through a grant-in-aid agreement with the state.
Raynor and Percy would like to remind resident and non-resident snowmobilers with unlicensed sleds, they may purchase a five-day, temporary snowmobile permit online at http://gfp.sd.gov/to-do/
snowmobile/license.aspx . The permit is $40.
“In the past, this permit was only available at select trailside vendors,” said Raynor. “Now riders have the convenience of purchasing the permit on their personal mobile device before they hit the trails.”
Current trail conditions are available online at gfp.sd.gov/snowmobiling as well as on the SDGFP Outdoors mobile app.
Trail condition updates are also posted to Twitter accounts dedicated to both the Black Hills and the East River trails (www.twitter.com/SDsnowBHills andwww.twitter.com/SDsnowEast).