Uniting the CDT in New Mexico
The Continental Divide Trail Coalition will expand the stewardship of the CDT in NM by building new CDT while training new and existing volunteers and Trail Adopters. Through this effort, volunteers will complete 5 projects statewide‑creating a sustainable and contiguous trail in NM, including segments providing access to the Gateway Communities of Silver City and Chama, NM. Additionally it will include Trailhead kiosks and expanded informational programs and services and special events.
Volunteers: CDTC will complete 5 Volunteer Construction/Training projects in New Mexico. Two projects will be in the L‑S Mesa area that finishes and completes a 7 mile stretch of the CDT between Highway 180 and Little Walnut Trailhead. The project will also include adding newly designed panels for the Little Walnut Trailhead Kiosk. This trailhead is THE major access point tot he new CDT for the entire community and visitors to Silver City, NM. The last two construction/training projects will occur along new CDT route in the Carson National Forest and help us build up to 2 new miles and reconstruct 5 miles of CDT while we train and engage our newly designated Gateway Community of Chama, NM, as well as other regional volunteers and adopter groups.
In all of these projects, CDTC will conduct an Adopter training to train and mentor new Adopters on the Gila and Carson National Forests. These adopters will not only gain ownership of the Trail sections they will help construct, but they will learn the history of the CDT and be able to adopt trail segments to maintain these newly constructed segments in partnership with the US Forest Service that help us support our agency partners.
CDTC will develop trailhead kiosk panels for a new trailhead at the Little Walnut Trailhead. This Trailhead is being redesigned and leverages over $120,000 in Federal funding to add equestrian parking, facilities for day use, and new trailhead panels that CDTC will design and provide for the CDT component. This will become a major destination point for
the newly completed (once the L‑S segments are constructed) segment of CDT around Silver City and will be a showpiece for the region. In combination with the work above and our work with Silver City as a Gateway Community, CDTC will host the second annual TrailDays in Silver City NM to celebrate the community, the Trail, and to “kickoff” the 2016 trail season. This event
will include trainings, presentations and a outdoor organization and vendor market. In 2015, the event launched and drew 250 people to the town and provided substantial economic impact to the community and its businesses. This included increased sales for local lodging providers, restaurants, art galleries, and the Visitor’s Center.
Finally, all of these programs help us further the goals and efforts of our Gateway Community Program. Both Chama and Silver City New Mexico serve as portal communities for CDT visitors. They play major roles in resupply, connectivity, support and generally connecting to the areas that the Trail connects. In this, they build awareness and provide opportunities for interchanges between the communities and visitors in meaningful ways. In this effort, our end goal is to build long term stewards of the CDT both from the gateway communities and our Trail visitors. Through building excitement, demonstrating benefits, and then creating opportunities to engage beyond just the Trail itself, we build a strong and united community across the entire state of New Mexico. This united community becomes our strong voices for the Trail and for protection of our public lands.