Sundance, WY – The Cook Lake Recreational Area on the Black Hills National Forest will remain closed through the July 4th holiday weekend due to elevated landslide risk to the public.
"Cook Lake is a very popular destination, but public safety is our number one priority.” said Craig Bobzien, Forest Supervisor. The elevated risk of landslides near the lake remains high. Therefore, the closure will remain in effect to keep the public out of harm's way.
“Continued severe thunderstorms have brought more concentrated rainfall to the Cook Lake area in addition to a wetter than average year which has the potential to create a prime landscape for landslide conditions,” said Todd Pechota Acting Bearlodge District Ranger. “Landslides are known to have occurred in the Cook Lake area in past months of July, so the potential is there for additional hazards.”
The Cook Lake campground and surrounding area have been evacuated and road barricades are in place. The closure order and map illustrate the area of concern. Forest personnel are working with specialists with the Wyoming Geological Survey and the South Dakota School of Mines to obtain a full assessment and develop monitoring to determine landslide potential for future management decisions.
Forest Recreation Management (FRM), a Concessionaire, operates the Cook Lake complex during the late spring to early fall months. Ty Gerbracht, Operations Manager, FRM, Inc. says "The safety of the public must always come first. We support this decision and the Forest Service on this matter.”
The Cook Lake Complex consists of 32 campsites and 12 picnic units. The complex includes two hiking trails, Cook Lake and Cliff Swallow. The Forest will continue to monitor the area for changing conditions, but for now the area will remain closed until further notice.
For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit, http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills or call (605) 673-9200.