Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Black Hills plant life is topic for Moon Walkers this Saturday

The Black Hills National Forest will hold a Moon Walk west of Custer, SD on Saturday, July 8th at 7:00 p.m.This one mile round trip hike will take place on the rim of Hell Canyon. Participants will learn about the variety of plant communities found in this area as well as learn some of the species common to the area.

Botanists will discuss the many plant communities found in the Black Hills and how they influence the surrounding environment.   “Because of its geography, the vegetation in the Black Hills area is influenced by the surrounding regions.  Plants common in the west are at their easternmost extent and co-occur with eastern plants at the western edges of their range,” said Chelsea Monks, Black Hills National Forest Botanist.

We discovered this Cressleaf Groundsel during a Moon Walk west
of Custer a few years ago.  "Moon Walkers" will enjoy this hike!
To reach the Moon Walk, from the stoplight at Hwy 16/385 in Custer, travel west on HWY 16 for approximately 15.5 miles, through Jewel Cave National Monument.  Turn north (right) on Mud Springs Road (USFS 282) and travel 1.25 miles.  Follow the signs to the parking area.  Please allow yourself an hour and a half drive-time from Rapid City. Deer, turkeys and other wildlife are 
commonly seen along this route so give yourself enough time to enjoy the forest.

The Forest Service suggests that visitors bring flashlights, water, and bug repellant and be prepared for possible rain and hiking on uneven terrain. Long pants and sturdy footwear (hiking boots or athletic shoes) are recommended for your comfort and safety.

The program may be cancelled unexpectedly for unforeseen reasons such as lightning, high fire danger forecasts and other reasons beyond control. The program will not be cancelled due to rain unless lightning is spotted.  Please arrive early to aid us in parking vehicles as over 100 visitors per walk have been attending the programs.

For additional information about the Moon Walk program and summer schedule go to http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills or call the Black Hills National Forest at 605-343-1567.

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