Continental Divide Trail

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Photo by Meg Killen

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail

Helping maintain and complete the CDT since 2012

About the CDT

Established in 1978, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) is the crown jewel of our nation's hiking trails. The CDT spans 3,100 miles, from Mexico to Canada, travelling through 21 wilderness areas and three national parks. The CDT navigates dramatically diverse ecosystems through mountain meadows, granite peaks, and high-desert surroundings. These are special landscapes that host the starting point for our water systems to the Pacific and Atlantic, are uniquely critical for wildlife, and equally important to preserve the outdoor heritage of the people who live here.

In Montana, the CDT traverses some of the wildest country in the state. Highlights of the Montana section include the Badger-Two Medicine, Bob Marshall Wilderness, Scapegoat Wilderness, Glacier National Park, Anaconda Pintler Wilderness, Nevada Mountain Roadless Area, and Centennial Mountains Wilderness Study Area. Unlike other National Scenic Trails, the CDT is not yet complete. The northernmost section, including Montana and Idaho, is only 60% finished. And since most of the CDT travels deep in the backcountry, regular maintenance of the exisiting mileage is a challenge for land management agencies.

Our Stewardship Efforts

In 2012, Montana Wilderness Association launched a trail stewardship program to help maintain and complete this vital mountain trail. Our Volunteer Trail Crew engages volunteers in hands-on service to public lands, including several trips on the CDT each summer. In addition, MWA partners with the Forest Service and Montana Conservation Corps to engage Blackfeet Youth in trail maintenance on the CDT in the Badger-Two Medicine through the Piikani Lands Crew. Protecting and completing the CDT remains a top priority for Montana Wilderness Association.

Over the last eight years, MWA volunteers have stepped up time and again to serve our public lands. Our accomplishments on the CDT in particular are astounding.

2012 – 2019 CDT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

600 Volunteers
32,400 Volunteer Hours
275 Miles Worked
6 Miles Trail Constructed
1,500 Dead Trees Removed
100 Miles Brushed

$813,000 volunteer in-kind value

 

In 2020, MWA will continue our stewardship efforts on the CDT. We need your help to keep the momentum going! You can join us on a project as a camp cook or trail crew member. Our full project line-up will be released here on March 1st. In the meantime, feel free to send any questions to stewardship coordinator Sonny Mazzullo at smazzullo@wildmontana.org.

Partners on the Trail

Blackfeet Nation & Montana Conservation Corps

The Piikani Land Crew (PLC) is a group of Blackfeet Youth who spend their summers stewarding ancestral lands. Organized by Montana Conservation Corps, the PLC is a partnership with a host of tribal and federal government agencies. Each summer, MWA sponsors three weeks of trail maintenance work on the CDT in the Badger-Two Medicine.

Back Country Horsemen

Much of the CDT is located in remote areas, far from the nearest road. In order to access some of the most needed-work, our Volunteer Trail Crews must hike in and establish a base camp deep in the backcountry. Our friends at the Back Country Horsemen (BCH) pack in the tools and gear we need to get the job done. The BCH are some of Montana's finest stewards. When they aren't helping pack in trail crews, they are often out clearing deadfall on their own  making sure our trails stay open. Thanks for your continued support! 

Continental Divide Trail Coalition

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) is a national organization focused on stewardship of the CDT, as well as raising awareness and building community for the trail. For the last two summers, MWA has partnered with CDTC to host a stewardship project on the trail. CDTC also has a growing Adopter program that mobilizes volunteers in stewardship efforts close to home.

United States Forest Service & Bureau of Land Management

MWA works to maintain and improve the CDT on federal lands managed by the BLM and USFS. These agencies provide volunteers with meaningful projects and the logisitical support essential to a well-run project. In addition, they help fund several of our trail projects on the CDT. Thanks to the USFS and BLM for their continued partnership and all the work they do on the CDT!