WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich’s (D-N.M.) Continental Divide Trail Completion Act is gaining momentum after it was featured during a full hearing to consider pending legislation in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today. The bipartisan legislation, introduced alongside U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.), would direct the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior to prioritize completion of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) by the trail’s 50th anniversary in 2028.
During the hearing, Senator Heinrich expressed that “Public lands and trails serve a vital role in conserving natural resources and providing space for diverse communities to experience the outdoors.” He explained that he introduced the legislation with Senator Daines “to improve the safety, accessibility, and quality of this trail that connects Americans to incredible landscapes and ecosystems across five states.”
Senator Heinrich closed his remarks by saying that “In passing this legislation, we can ensure that the natural, cultural, and economic value of this incomparable trail will be conserved for generations to come.”
Designated by Congress as part of the National Trail System in 1978, the CDT stretches more than 3,000 miles and passes through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The trail follows the Continental Divide and transverses some of the nation’s most treasured natural, historic, and cultural sites.
Since the CDT’s creation, stakeholders have worked tirelessly to complete the trail. Today, more than 160 miles of the trail require diversions onto roadways and highways, and 600 miles of the trail require relocation. Closing these gaps and relocating these segments will help better maintain the trail’s purpose while ensuring a safer and more enjoyable journey for visitors.