RAPID CITY, SD — Join the Black Hills National Forest at the Saturday, June 22 Moon Walk at 7 p.m. to learn about a special botanical area southwest of Beulah, WY.
Participants will hike approximately 1 mile round trip on the Dugout Gulch Botanical Hiking Trail (#77) which is a single track trail up through the forest on slightly sloping ground from a gravel parking area. Black Hills National Forest botanist, Nicholas Drozda, from Sundance will discuss the history of the botanical area, disjunct plant species, nonnative plant species and the challenges of managing plants with other multiple uses of the area.
Drozda says, “Some of the plants that I will show visitors are disjunct or separated geographically from the main range of the species itself. This botanical area contains plants that are relic boreal plants from the forests of Canada that were left here at the end of the Ice Age.” Sheltered under the cool, green branches of birch and ironwood visitors may find Rattlesnake Fern, Enchanter’s Nightshade and Meadow Sedge on this hike.
The Dugout Gulch Botanical Trail #77 brochure is available at any USFS office in the Black Hills or can be downloaded from the Forest’s website.
To reach the Dugout Gulch Trailhead from Spearfish, SD or Sundance, WY follow Interstate 90 to Beulah Exit 205. Travel south for 6 miles on FSR 863 to the trailhead on your left. Parking is very limited and signs will be posted at major intersections to direct visitors to the site.
The Forest Service suggests that visitors bring flashlights, water, and bug repellant and dress for unexpected weather and hiking on uneven land. 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 our control. The program will not be cancelled due to rain unless lightning is spotted. Please arrive early to aid us in parking vehicles as 130 visitors per walk have been attending the programs this summer.
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.