Who We AreThe Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) is a 501 (c) (3) national non-profit membership organization founded by a group of citizens passionate about the CDNST and working to building a strong community of supporters and Trail Enthusiasts who want to see the Trail completed and protected.
CDTC’s Mission is to create a community committed to construct, promote, and protect in perpetuity the CDNST which stretches from Canada to Mexico, through, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.
The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) is a 501 (c) (3) national non-profit membership organization founded by a group of citizens passionate about the CDNST and working to building a strong community of supporters and Trail Enthusiasts who want to see the Trail completed and protected.
Why CDTC was formed:
On November 10, 1978, Congress established the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST). For many years following its designation, development and recognition of the Trail languished due to a lack of adequate federal funding for the Federal Agencies tasked with its oversight. In addition, public awareness and engagement in the volunteer stewardship necessary for keeping the Trail well marked and maintained was almost non-existent. Finally, and most importantly, a lack of consistent direction and focus regarding The Trails identity, management, and national significance within the public lands it traversed often left it subject to the discretion of the land managers charged with its stewardship.
Limited budgets precluded the federal agencies from allocating sufficient resources to complete the Trail. By the mid-1990s the CDT was still suffering from minimal coordination amongst these agencies. Public involvement was virtually nonexistent because few people were aware of the Trail. Unfortunately, while progress on the Trail was stalled, the demand for the experience that the CDT offers grew exponentially as opportunities for the ideal route were slipping away.
It was the formation of Continental Divide Trail Alliance (CDTA) in 1995 that finally created public and private enthusiasm for the CDT. For 15 years CDTA worked steadily to increase awareness, partnerships and the effectiveness of the public- private partnership working on behalf of the CDT. But hard times hit the CDTA and in January of 2012, due to shrinking private funding, CDTA ceased operations leaving the Trail once again in jeopardy of no coordination, representation, loss of interest and public funding, and potentially leaving the Trail Corridor subject to impacts from increased developments on western lands.
A new era of public support and volunteerism working on behalf of the Continental Divide Trail: The Continental Divide Trail Coalition
The closing of the CDTA, left a gap in both the national coordination of Trail management, protection and volunteer stewardship, and the on the ground efforts of trail construction previously accomplished through CDTA’s annual efforts. In response to this gap, regional groups who had previously partnered with the CDTA, stepped into the construction role and with support from former CDTA staff who consulted both as volunteers and who were hired by these partner organizations, helped fill in the gaps of volunteer construction of the Trail. These partners included numerous Backcountry Horsemen of America chapters, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, Montana Wilderness Association and its CDT specific program CDT Montana, the Colorado Trail Foundation, New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Montana Conservation Corps, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Southwest Conservation Corps, and many others have helped recruit volunteers, build awareness, and engage local communities. But this still left the gap in overall coordination and focus that only a national level leadership with the sole focus of the CDT could provide.
After consultation with partner organizations, including the Continental Divide Trail Society ( an organization dedicated to the planning and development of the CDT ) and its founder, Jim Wolf, former CDTA Staff members, volunteers, supporters and members of the CDT Thru hiking community formed the Continental Divide Trail Coalition. Officially incorporating in June 2012, CDTC hit the Trail running and has already contributed over 10,000 hours of volunteer labor, and continued the important work initiated by the CDTA. CDTC is leveraging the strengths of its broad community of Trail partners, local communities, enthusiasts and supporters to build a strong coalition of support for the CDT so it remains a Trail of not only national, but international significance. Program areas are focused in Volunteer Stewardship, Community Engagement, and Public Information, Outreach and Education about the Trail.