Forest Planning Efforts

Forest Planning Impacts and the CDT


Forest Planning is the process that helps every National Forest identify and set priorities, overarching direction for the lands with in each of the Forest Boundaries. Forest planning looks at everything from logging to protecting threatened species. Forest plans take long term views at each acre of forest land and help tank of how best to protect, steward and manage that land for a variety of purposes.

The National Forest Management Act or NFMA is the basic law that the Forest Service must follow in developing forest planning rules to manage national forests. Passed in 1976, the Act has three special features:

  • The Forest Service is required to involve the public in forest planning.
  • The Forest Service must develop and update a 10 to 15 year plan for how it would manage the land and resources in each individual national forest.
  • All management activities in the national forest must be consistent with the forest plan.

In the case of the CDT, because it is a Congressionally designated resource, there are laws and other guidance that must be incorporated into forest plans that have the CDT on their units. In 2018, the US Forest Service developed a Forest Plan Template that is to be used to hep guide how the CDT should be treated in each Forest Plan.  The main components of this is that the CDT should be treated as a corridor, not just as an 18-24 inch Trail, it be managed to ensure a high scenic integrity with in the corridor, and ideally be placed in a CDT Specific Special Management Area. The plan should also recognize the nature and purposes of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail are “to provide for high-quality scenic, primitive hiking and horseback riding opportunities and to conserve natural, historic and cultural resources along the CDNST corridor.”

There are many documents that are helpful in understanding the intended management direction for the CDT.  They are found on our Stewardship page.

CDTC is currently involved in the following Forest Planning efforts:

Montana / Idaho

  • Lewis and Clark National Forest Plan Revision



New Mexico

  • Carson National Forest Plan Revision
  • Santa Fe National Forest Plan Revision
  • Cibola National Forest Plan Revision
  • Gila National Forest Plan Revision