[cdt-l] Backpacker CDT Project

Ryan Jordan ryan at backpackinglight.com
Fri Sep 14 14:40:24 CDT 2007

Interesting discussion.

When I started hiking the CDT, we had no "CDT maps". Just ... topo maps
(USGS 1:100k) and BLM maps for identifying private land parcels.

It was fun. Rewarding. Nonpolitical. Choose your route. Hike your hike.

The most glorious thing about it was that (a) it wasn't the AT and (b) it
wasn't the PCT.

In other words, it wasn't sanitized, and there was nothing defining what a
hike along the Divide was to be.

Here in Montana, I spend my efforts trying to preserve the "CDT" as a
*corridor*, not to protect a "trail" or identify a "route" but to protect
"options in the corridor for wilderness travel".

My mapping efforts are not focused on mapping the "CDT", but on
understanding (a) access points to the corridor, (b) the width of the
corridor, (c) discontinuities of the corridor, (d) corridor ecosystem
disruptions. A "trail" designated or not, really has no impact on corridor

Unfortunately, we have to work with a political environment that needs a
"trail" defined in order for it to fit into the NST system. More
unfortunately, we have to address a "culture" within the hiking community
that seems to want blazed routes, for one reason or another.

The goal here is: protect the corridor and understand it's relationship to
its boundary regions, who cares about the "route" through it?


On 9/14/07, Ginny & Jim Owen <spiritbear2k at hotmail.com> wrote:
> It seems to me that most of the folks who volunteered for this project did
> so because they thought it would be fun to hike a section of the CDT with
> a
> small group of hikers and be part of the mapping of the trail -- not just
> because they were hoping for goodies.  That really is irrelevant to the
> success of the project.
> My one question about the project relates to the mapping:  before we hiked
> the trail we tried to get information on recent relocations from the land
> management agencies and CDTA.  Aside from the map of the new route from
> the
> border that we got from CDTA, (thank you!) we received very little
> assistance in getting information on the reroutes.  Only one of the
> National
> Forests (in Colorado) sent us maps of recent trail relocations.  Everyone
> else either ignored us or said, "We can't give you any information until
> the
> trail is completed."  When hiking the trail, we ran into sections that had
> been relocated since the guidebooks were published.  We followed the new
> markers or pink ribbons and found that in several cases the trail
> deadended
> in the middle of nowhere.  Those were pretty much the only places we got
> "lost" on the trail last year.
> A couple of areas immediately come to mind - the new section north of
> Lordsburg, the Gros Ventre section in Wyoming, the Carson NF, etc.  I
> thought it was a real shame that trail crews have spent a lot of time
> building new trail that no one can use because it is impossible to get any
> information on the new trail from those responsible.  At one point we ran
> into a trail crew in New Mexico that asked if we had walked their recently
> completed new section of trail.  We would have, had we known about it, but
> we didn't so we couldn't.
> So, for the teams that were out there this year, did they follow the old
> outdated routes (which route, the Westcliffe route or Jim Wolf's?), did
> they
> actually get some information from CDTA or the Forest Service on
> relocations
> that have been done since the guidebooks came out, or did they just skip
> the
> sections that were under construction?
> I remember a few years ago when there was a similar project to assess the
> state of the trail and one of the groups said they had been using a 20
> year
> old guidebook in southern Montana, without understanding that there had
> been
> updates since the book was published that completely changed the route.
> That group had a very hard time, but more important, their assessment was
> pretty useless because it did not concern the actual trail, just a
> previous
> incarnation of it.
> So - was that the case this year?  And if not, where can we get some
> information on the relocations so next year's hikers can have the
> information?
> Ginny
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Ryan Jordan
Backpacking Light
USA Toll-Free +1-888-362-0999
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