Continental Divide National Scenic Trail 2021 Highlights

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) provided the following highlights for the Continental Divide NST during the 2021 calendar year:

Conserving Trail Lands and Boosting Climate Resilience

  • CDTC completed its “Connecting across the Continent” report that showcases how the CDT contributes to the America the Beautiful goals set by the Biden Administration.
  • CDTC, through coordination of Congressman Joe Neguse’s office, also saw the introduction of the Continental Divide Trail Completion Act, which included CDTC Executive Director Teresa Martinez testifying on behalf of the legislation to the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Trails.
  • The CDT Partnership in cooperation with a USFS Enterprise Team conducted and completed the Scenery Character Assessment for the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.
  • Finally, for all major Gaps along the CDT, CDTC has finalized and completed the Optimal Location Reports for these major gap areas.

Collaboration and Engagement

  • CDTC continued to grow and strengthen partnerships along the Trail including adding Butte, MT as the newest designated Gateway Community.
  • CDTC conducted its second annual National Gateway Community Summit which brought all 19 Gateway Communities together to learn and grow together as a larger community.
  • CDTC welcomed new partners into their field programs including Venture Out (where they hosted a volunteer project in Yellowstone National Park) and hosted 6 trail adopter training trail wide and recruiting over 50 new Trail Adopters for the CDT.
  • CDTC also strengthened its efforts to diversify the outdoors and strengthen partnerships with the Next 100 National and Colorado and the Outdoor Future Initiative.
  • CDTC began strengthening its work and relationships with Trail Nations and Native communities along the CDT including hosting their first American Indian College Fund Intern this past summer.
  • CDTC volunteer work continued to grow with over $250k in volunteer labor contributed.

Strengthening Organizations and Partnerships

  • CDTC supported all of CDTC staff to attend and complete the New Public Lands Curriculum of the Wilderness Society (including hosting 2 ATC staff members).
  • The organization embarked on their own year-long training to further diversify their work, culture and team. This culminated in development and passage by all of our Board members of a new CDT Employee Handbook that highlights power-sharing and further decolonizing their work and organization.
  • CDTC supported the passage of the Colorado Outdoor Equity fund and grew their partner network through this effort across Colorado and New Mexico.
  • CDTC expanded their team from 12 to 14 full-time employees including growing their capacity in development work and, most recently, hiring their first Regional representative for New Mexico. CDTC is proud to announce that the person they hired for the NM Regional Representative is a member of the Pueblo of Acoma and they look forward to the leadership he will provide in their work across NM in, not just completing the CDT, but in helping the organization work more closely with Tribal Nations.

Local Economy, Tourism and Community Health

  • CDTC completed the Cuba Rural Pathways Program to help support regional tourism based around the designated CDT Gateway Community of the Village of Cuba.
  • Through support from NM outdoor Recreation Office, CDTC began investments in town kiosks and other assets to support communities across New Mexico where the CDT Traverses.

Education, Interpretation and Cultural Expression

  • CDTC once again was awarded a National Trail Intern and their work allowed the organization to expand its reach and connection to communities across Colorado and Wyoming, which has led to new partnerships and helped CDTC reach over 2500 people over the last year that they would not have otherwise reached.
  • CDTC hosted over 12 events across New Mexico in celebration of Latino Conservation Week and launched their new effort called “Portraits of the CDT”.
  • CDTC also updated their trail information and planning guide to better reflect needs of users, including expanding resources for equestrians and hosting an all-virtual Trail Days series which welcomed over 500 virtual attendees. Most all of this work was made possible by the Intern focusing on outreach work.