CDT Gateway Communities

Communities who have committed to providing an inviting environment for CDT hikers.

What is a CDT Gateway Community?

Gateway Communities are towns that recognize the unique economic and cultural value that the CDT brings. They make services accesible to hikers, educate local residents, and advocate for continued access to public lands. Committees comprise volunteers, business owners, public officials, and land management partners.

Download the Community Application

Gateway Community Newsletter

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Gateway Community Program Background

The CDTC Board and Advisory Committee identified and endorsed four pillars of focus for the Coalition. The four pillars are: stewardship of the Trail, promotion of the Trail, building a strong Trail Community to support the Trail, and building an organization with sound governance to support its efforts.   CDTC focuses on these four pillars to generate a broader culture of stewardship and belonging within and amongst the Trail Community.

Building a Strong Trail Community. CDTC establishes strong community-based relationships through activities that support the construction, maintenance and support of the CDT. We engage a wide audience of volunteers, supporters, and partners in an on-going process that inform the work and the priorities of CDTC.  

We feel that building stronger local relationships with communities adjacent to the Trail and involving volunteers on the ground is the most powerful way to build our movement and preserve and protect the CDT. This includes municipalities, “gateway communities”, state and federal governments, public entities, and tribal communities and governments.

Through building this network of individuals, groups, and local communities, we strive to build a strong and healthy voice for the CDT that will promote the Vision for the CDT and ensure it remains a national landmark for generations to come.

Towns, counties, and communities along the Trail’s corridor are considered an asset by CDT users, and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail. With the potential of thousands of visitors coming to the Trail every year, it is no wonder that outfitters, restaurants and businesses are beginning to embrace CDT Travelers.

Designation as an Continental Divide Trail Community and participation in the program is designed to act as a catalyst for enhancing economic development, engaging community citizens as Trail visitors and stewards, aiding local municipalities and regional areas with conservation planning and helping local community members see the Trail as a resource and asset. The program also serves to highlightand recognize those communities who are taking steps to ensure the ongoing protection of their natural, cultural and recreational resources, including the CDT. Preserving and enhancing a charming, memorable community destination will contribute to the long-term economic health of CDT towns and make a CDT hike even more desirable.

Designation as a Gateway Community

The Continental Divide Trail Community™ program is designed to recognize communities that promote and protect the Continental Divide Trail (CDT).  Towns, counties, and communities along the CDT’s corridor are considered assets by all that use the CDT and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail. The program serves to assist communities with sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation, while preserving and protecting the CDT.

Designation as a Continental Divide Trail Community™ and participation in the program is aimed to:


  • Engage community citizens, Trail visitors and stewards
  • Recognize and thank communities for their service to the Trail and hikers
  • Act as a catalyst for enhancing sustainable economic development
  • Aid local municipalities and regional areas with conservation planning
  • Help local community members see the Trail as a resource and asset


  • National designation network and communication
  • Recognition and visibility through signage, press releases, Continental Divide Trail Coalition’s website and publications
  • Enhanced partnerships with public land agencies and volunteers
  • Access to new and creative funding opportunities
  • Education and Outreach programs and opportunities like CDTC’s Flat Stanley Library Program and access to a wide network of talks and presentations



  • Increased community environmental stewardship
  • Increased sense of place and cultural sustainability
  • Trail-friendly promotion through CDTC-assisted marketing techniques
Can my community be considered for Gateway Designation?

The Gateway Designation Process is one that is ultimately driven by the community itself.  While CDTC make every opportunity to inform partners and communities alike of the program, it is up to the community itself to invite CDTC into their community and help them through the process.


Any town in close proximity of the CDT corridor may apply for town/ community designation.

It is required that local government officials responsible for governance of your community have been contacted and are in agreement with the application.  It is required that a Town or County official (mayor, manager, etc) in cooperation with the lead volunteer liaison on the advisory committee are responsible for submitting the application.  


In addition, the community must commit to meet at least two of the criteria below, with creation of an advisory committee being required.


These criteria provide structure
for the program and provide an awareness and appreciation among the community of the Continental Divide Trail and its special resources.

Criteria for Selection

  1. Community support is evidenced by creation of an advisory committee. 
Suggested candidates for this committee would be representatives of the county or community (elected officials, etc.), representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, tourism development association, business association or equivalent, local hiking and CDT maintaining club, etc.
  2. Hosting an annual CDT volunteer project, event or celebration
  3. CDT related educational or service- learning program or project.
  4. Language for the protection of
the CDT is included in land-use plans, planning tools, ordinances or guidelines; or there is demonstrated support to amend, change or add such plans.
Communication and Transparency

CDTC conducts all transactions and dealings with integrity and honesty and promotes working relationships with board members, staff, volunteers, partners, and program beneficiaries that are based on mutual respect, fairness and openness. This is equally true and fundamental to the Gateway Community Designation process.  It is paramount that as communities move toward designation that meetings are held openly with the opportunity to have all voices heard regarding support, and even non-support of the designation process.  While CDTC feels this program provides a great opportunity to the communities that choose to utilize it, many times it takes communities some time and effort to do the necessary work to be ready for designation.  This includes ensuring that local governing bodies are knowledgeable and involved in the process.
The application itself is designed to serve as a Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis that helps communities systematically evaluate their current and desired capacity as a gateway community.  This includes identification of current resources and facilities they offer, followed by identification of the resource and facilities they would like to offer, and then identification of what is needed to grow as a Gateway Community.  The application process serves as a starting point for CDTC to also support the communities and bring all the necessary parties together to work toward a common goal of designation and beyond.

What exactly is the process?

Once your community has made the determination to pursue designation, and has decided to invite CDTC to meet with your community, it is critical that you contact CDTC . You will contact the CDTC Gateway Coordinator at or by calling CDTC’s office at 303-996-2759.


Once contacted, the Gateway Coordinator will review basic questions regarding your Community. Once this is completed, the Gateway Coordinator will schedule a visit to your community to meet with the advisory committee and local government officials, get a tour of the town and meet with the general community.  The goal of this visit is to provide a formal overview of the program, visit with the local government officials, and it can also serve to help begin the review of the application and even help with the completion of the application itself.
After meeting with CDTC’s Gateway Community Coordinator, the advisory committee should be working to complete the Gateway Community Application.  This includes determining which criteria for involvement they wish to pursue (land management planning, events, education programing etc). This time period make take one month to longer.  The committee should also be working with local government officials and CDTC’s Gateway Community Coordinator to prepare a town proclamation.  Once a proclamation is prepared the Advisory Committee, local government and CDTC should  review the process and concur that the community is ready for designation and then set a date for the formal signing of the Proclamation.  The timing of this will be determined on a case by case basis and be dependent on the community itself.

Does it cost anything to become a Gateway Community?

It does not cost anything to become a Gateway Community.  CDTC through its private support and corporate partners provides a budget of $1000 to help launch each Gateway Community.  This includes two banners, two road signs, print materials, and development of a Community web page for each community.  The Communities have access to Branded items, marketing materials, and additional resources as needed.  CDTC is happy to work with each community to create innovative and unique products, items, and materials to help promote a community.  In some cases, CDTC may even help pursue funding opportunities and opportunities exist to consider cooperative agreements to share costs for join efforts. CDTC has a Gateway Community Coordinator that supports the needs of our gateway Communities year around.

What happens after our Community is Designated?

Upon agreeing to work with a local community, CDTC is making a long -term commitment to the community and its residents.  Once Designation occurs, the community works with CDTC to provide ongoing information about community resources and capacity. It is understood, for a myriad of reasons, communities may be more active  one year over the next. It is not a requirement that every year a community accomplish the same exact thing.  Rather through ongoing coordination with CDTC , working together an individual Community’s support for the CDT and its users is communicated.

So, are you or your community interested in becoming a CDT Gateway Community?

Community Checklist

  • Are you a town, county, or community in close proximity to the CDT?
  • Have you spoken with local government officials about the opportunity?
  • Have you identified an advisory committee?
  • Have you identified at least two of the criteria necessary for consideration for designation?
  • Have you called CDTC and initiated the process?


For more information or details, or begin the process, please contact CDTC at or 303-996-2759 or download and fill out the CDT Community Application.

What are the Benefits of becoming a Gateway Community?

Web Development – Community webpage that reflects what the community has brought to the program, including listing of local events.

Media Support

Local articles and press releases highlighted in the CDTC’s newsroom.

Subscription to e-news providing highlights of community successes and network to designated communities in the program.

Recognition in CDTC’s Passages and other publications.

Logo Usage

Access to Continental Divide Trail Community under signed licensing and usage agreement.

Incorporating national network brand to community.


Two 18” by 24” full color metal aluminum street entrance signs; Two 6” window decals (suggested placement in town hall or chamber).

Event Support

Toolkit providing detailed information and resources for planning your designation celebration.


Complimentary CDTC Membership

Social Media

Access to CDTC social media outlets and support in your own social media efforts


CDTC provides a Gateway Community Coordinator to work with your community through the process.