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Know the West

The Continental Divide Trail gains new protectors


At 3,100 miles, the Continental Divide Trail is the most rugged and least used of the country's three major long-distance hiking trails. In January, when financial troubles forced the Continental Divide Trail Alliance to close its doors, it also became the only long-distance trail without a formal advocacy group. Since then, nonprofits throughout the Rockies have scrambled to continue protecting private lands around the trail from development, coordinate maintenance and raise awareness of the route. In early July, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, a group founded by ex-Alliance staffers,  became the trail's new voice. The coalition will focus on protecting and promoting the CDT, leaving the expensive and time-consuming work of maintenance to state groups, says co-founder Teresa Martinez.