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Working Together

Land Management Agencies

The Forest Service was designated by Congress as the lead federal agency for overseeing the management of the trail’s 3,100 mile length, but partnerships with other federal land management agencies, conservation non-profit organizations, and local and state governments are key to the trail’s successful management.

The Forest Service works closely with the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service as the three major managers of the land the trail passes through. Together, these agencies and our partners work to protect, maintain, and promote the outstanding scenic values and recreational opportunities that make the Continental Divide Trail a National Scenic Trail.

In 2016, the Continental Divide Trail was identified as one of 15 national priority areas in need of increased trail maintenance by the US Forest Service as part of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act. The goal of this effort is to address the substantial maintenance needs of the trail by doubling the number of volunteers working on the trail and the number of miles maintained by volunteers by the end of 2020.

A donut chart showing the percentage of land along the CDT managed by the Forest Service (70%), Bureau of Land Management (12%), National Park Service (10%), and State and Private Lands (8%).

Partner Organizations

“The Congress recognizes the valuable contributions that volunteers and private, nonprofit trail groups have made to the development and maintenance of the Nation's trails. In recognition of these contributions, it is further the purpose of this Act to encourage and assist volunteer citizen involvement in the planning, development, maintenance, and management, where appropriate, of trails.”

-National Trails System Act, 1968


The Continental Divide Trail Coalition and other non-profit conservation organizations provide a powerful voice and community in support of the trail. Aside from advocacy and public outreach work, these groups are also instrumental in completing much-needed trail maintenance and construction every year by organizing volunteer crews for trail work. While the Continental Divide Trail Coalition is the lead national non-profit partner working with federal agencies in support of the CDT, there are dozens of other organizations along the length of the trail that complete vital work to improve the trail each year.


Continental Divide Trail CoalitionThe logo of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition.

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition, headquartered in Golden, CO, has been active since 2012 and is the nationwide nonprofit partner for the trail, with a mission to complete, promote, and protect the entire length of the Continental Divide Trail.


The logo of the Colorado Trail Foundation.Colorado Trail Foundation

The Colorado Trail shares 314 miles with the Continental Divide Trail, making the Colorado Trail Foundation a key partner for trail maintenance and management in Colorado.


Other Partners and VolunteersThe logo of the Youth Conservation Corps.

Dozens of Conservation Corps groups and other non-profit partners, as well as hundreds of volunteers every year, are vital to the continued maintenance and construction of the Continental Divide Trail. Learn more about volunteering and partnerships with the US Forest Service.