Many people in the Black Hills kick off their Memorial Day weekend at recreational sites like Pactola Reservoir.
With the postcard view and the fresh smell of pine the only thing that can put a damper on the holiday spirit is the water. It’s a picture perfect view with hidden dangers which are often overlooked by local thrill seekers like Jim Muchow.
Sailing his boat into Pactola Lake every Memorial Day is an adventure for Muchow. One he has not missed in eight years.
“There are a lot of people who want to get their boats wet now,” said Muchow. And that worries U.S. Forest Service Ranger Chuck Carlson.
“Weather here can change very quickly and can come up very fast,’ said Carlson.
Carlson says high water levels, frigid temperatures and overly saturated soil make the forest a dangerous place this weekend. So dangerous, some parts are blocked off from visitors, such as a picnic area and south boating dock.
Three feet of extra water has push the reservoir over where it should be.
“That’s good news in one way because this is Rapid City’s water supply during the summer, but in one way it’s bad news,” said Carlson. “There is a lot of debris, the water has brought a lot of dead timber floating; especially the power boats have to watch where they’re going,” said Muchow.
But some people say neither the weather nor the water can stop them from celebrating this big weekend.