U.S. SENATE – Today, U.S. Senator Steve Daines introduced a bipartisan bill directing the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior to prioritize completion of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) by the trail’s 50th anniversary in 2028.
“Completing the Continental Divide Trail will support Montana jobs, boost economic development for our local gateway communities, and encourage cooperation between federal land managers, states, Tribes, towns, and more. As an avid outdoorsman, I know how important outdoor recreation is to our Montana way of life— I’m glad to work across the aisle to get this done for Montanans and everyone who wants to enjoy the beauty of the American West,” Daines said.
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The Senator introduced The Continental Divide Trail Completion Act with Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).
Senator Daines and Senator Heinrich also introduced this legislation in the 117th Congress.
See the full text of the Continental Divide Trail Completion Act HERE.
Designated by Congress as part of the National Trail System in 1978, the CDT stretches more than 3,000 miles and passes through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Idaho. The trail follows the Continental Divide and transverses some of the nation’s most treasured natural, historic, and cultural resources.
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.
The Continental Divide Trail Completion Act would:
- Direct the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to establish a Trail Completion Team. This team will be responsible for conducting optimal location reviews, identifying land for acquisition, and working with willing sellers to acquire land. It will include U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff working with the CDT Administrator.
- Recognize the value of cooperation between federal land managers, states, Tribes, towns, and others. The Continental Divide Trail Completion Act directs USFS and BLM to maintain close partnerships with stakeholders in developing, maintaining, and managing the trail.
- State that eminent domain will not be used to complete the trail. Land to complete the trail may only be acquired from willing sellers.
Daines’ bill is supported by several groups and businesses including:
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trust for Public Land, Montana Conservation Corp, Wild Montana, City-County of Butte-Silver Bow, Helena Chamber of Commerce, Glacier County Regional Tourism, Butte-Silver Bow Convention and Visitors Bureau, Butte-Silver Bow Tourism Business Improvement District, Butte CDT Gateway Committee, Helena Tourism Business Improvement District, Downtown Helena Inc., Pintler’s Portal Hostel, East Ridge Foundation of Rotary Club Butte, Lincoln Valley Chamber of Commerce, Anaconda Trail Society, Linked Adventures, Blackfoot River Brewing Co, Partnership for the National Trail System, American Hiking Society, Backcountry Horsemen of America, REI Co-op, and many more.