STURGIS — Officials from the Black Hills National Forest, Black Hills Trails and the city of Sturgis gathered Monday, July 1, to celebrate the latest addition to the region’s official recreational trail network.

A decision recently signed by Steve Kozel, the national forest’s Northern Hills district ranger, allows 16 miles of non-motorized trails in the Sturgis area to be constructed and maintained on Forest Service land. Another 5.3 miles of new trails are on land owned by the city of Sturgis, bringing the total new mileage to 21.3.

The new trails are in the forested hills and mountains just to the southwest of Sturgis. They connect to the existing Centennial Trail, which runs north-south through the entirety of the Black Hills, and to the 7th Cavalry Trails, which are just east of Sturgis.

“It’s a great connection to the public lands near the city of Sturgis,” Kozel said Monday during a press conference at one of the trailheads in the city. “It’s going to provide them great recreational opportunities for the residents that live here and the visitors that come to the Black Hills.”

Kevin Forrester, of Black Hills Trails, said the nonprofit organization has raised and spent about $200,000 in support of the trail system, or more than $500,000 when the value of volunteer labor is included.

The new trail system includes access to a series of small, secluded dams that were formerly closed to the public when they served as a primary water source for the city of Sturgis. The dams have since been opened to the public.

There are several trailheads for the new trail system, including one in Sturgis where Monday’s press conference was conducted, on Pineview Drive just west of Vanocker Canyon Road. A sign at the trailhead displays a map of the entire trail system.

A map of the Sturgis Trail System, as posted at a trailhead on Pineview Drive in Sturgis. Rapid City Journal
A map of the Sturgis Trail System, as posted at a trailhead on Pineview Drive in Sturgis. Rapid City Journal