(Updated) CDTC Asks Thru-Hikers to Postpone, Avoid Discretionary Travel to Reflect Closures and Stay-at-Home Orders

(Updated  8 a.m. MT, March 27) Region 2 of the US Forest Service, which manages national forests in Colorado as well as the Shoshone and Medicine Bow National Forests in Wyoming, has closed campgrounds, restrooms, cabin rentals, picnic sites, and trash cans, and is discouraging all trail use on Forest Service lands. This includes almost all of the CDT in Colorado.

As of March 26, New Mexico, Colorado, and Idaho are all under mandatory stay-home orders until at least April 10, and the New Mexico Department of Health has urged anyone entering the state to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. As of Saturday, March 28, at midnight, Montana will be under a stay-at-home order as well.

Per these updates, the CDTC has strengthened its language to reflect these changes.

“CDTC urges anyone considering a trip of any length on the Continental Divide Trail to follow these recommendations. If the CDT is your neighborhood trail, and local trail conditions, your own skillset, and local land manager recommendations allow you to safely access the trail, it continues to be a great place to practice social distancing, enjoy our public lands, and get some exercise and fresh air. Otherwise, we urge you to stay home and enjoy your local trails and outdoor spaces (if local public health orders allow these activities).”

In a notice sent out on March 17, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition joined the Appalachian Trail Conservancy by formally requested that 2020 CDT prospective hikers postpone their section and thru-hikes due to the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the Southern Terminus Shuttle and water caching in New Mexico are put on hold until at least April 17, possibly for the entire season if the current orders from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New Mexico Department of Health are extended past that date.

If the CDT passes close to your community, the CDTC encourages locals to enjoy the outdoors while continuing to practice social distancing. However, all 2020 section and thru-hikers are asked to follow CDC guidance to avoid all discretionary travel for the next 15 days and to stay home. Those who already have shuttles booked to the Southern Terminus have the option to postpone their shuttle to later in the year or get a full refund.

Yellowstone National Park, on the route of the CDT, has closed to all visitors until further notice. Grand Teton National Park, with an alternate CDT route passing through it, also has closed to all visitors until further notice.

“There will be no visitor access permitted to either park,” according to an announcement March 24 on the Yellowstone Facebook page.

Keep up with the latest developments from the trail by subscribing to The Trek’s weekly newsletter.

Read the full letter below, and view the CDTC’s COVID-19 page here.


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