Forest Moon Walk features Soil Formation Near Sheridan Lake

Press Release – The Black Hills National Forest will hold a Moon Walk program north of Hill City on Saturday, August 5 at 7:00 p.m. This 3/4 mile round trip hike on a two track road with little elevation gain will take place on the south side of Sheridan Lake near the campground.  Participants will be able to walk into a soil pit while staff from the Natural Resource Conservation Service discuss soils common to the Black Hills and surrounding region.

Featured speakers Kent Cooley, Area Resource Soil Scientist and Denise Miller Geographic Information Systems Specialist from the Rapid City Field Support Office will discuss how soil develops under different environments, the significance of soil, how different soils impact resource management and finally how GIS mapping aids in a better understanding of soils.  “Soils are an integral part of everything we do, so understanding and protecting them is important.  There are amazing things happening below the soil surface from soil development to the organisms living there,” said Miller.

Downloading a cell phone App is suggested to help visitors connect with the forest and understand the discussion topic.  The featured App this month is called SoilWeb which allows users to view detailed soil survey information based on their geographic location.  In addition, an interactive map website allow users to get detailed information, classifications, and suitability ratings on their computer, tablet or smartphone and is available at https://casoilresource.lawr.ucdavis.edu/gmap/.

“I’d like to share some additional electronic reference tools for visitors to use that they may not be aware of although, it is not necessary to download any Apps to enjoy or interact with the program speaker,” says Amy Ballard, Moon Walk Coordinator.   First, we suggest you download the Black Hills National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map through the free Avenza PDF Maps App to find your way around the forest.  The Black Hills National Forest also recently launched a Free App that is available at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/black-hills-national-forest/id1156230107?mt=8 (iPhone/iPad) or https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.usda.fs.nf.blackhills (Android).

To reach the Moon Walk travel northeast from the Three Forks Highways 385/16 intersection on Highway 385 for approximately 2 miles to Calumet Road (Sheridan Lake inlet).  Turn east (right) on Calumet Road and travel approximately .9 miles to the parking area.  Signs will be posted at major intersections to guide visitors to the parking area once you leave Highway 385. Wildlife and raptors 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 dress for cooler evening temperatures 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 in parking vehicles as over 125 visitors per walk have been attending the programs.

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