Continental Divide Trail Alliance Volunteers in Colorado Join Thousands Lending a Hand on National Public Lands Day

On Sat., Sept. 30, hundreds of thousands of volunteers will gather at sites all across the nation for the largest hands-on activity of its kind – National Public Lands Day. With shovels and rakes, hammers and saws, brooms and trash bags in hand they’ll fix up, clean up, restore and refurbish America’s treasured outdoor places.
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(Pine, Colo.) On Sat., Sept. 30, hundreds of thousands of volunteers will gather at sites all across the nation for the largest hands-on activity of its kind – National Public Lands Day. With shovels and rakes, hammers and saws, brooms and trash bags in hand they'll fix up, clean up, restore and refurbish America's treasured outdoor places.

In Colorado, Continental Divide Trail Alliance volunteers will work on the “High Lonesome” section of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in the Arapaho/Roosevelt National Forest near Winter Park. Volunteers will build drainage ditches, water bars and a pair of bridges to improve a popular segment of the nation's highest, wildest, longest backcountry trail that runs 3,100 miles from Canada to Mexico (including 750 miles in Colorado).

“This annual event promotes environmental education and provides a unique opportunity for all Americans to get their hands dirty and help restore and maintain the public lands we all love and use for outdoor recreation,” said Brenda Dolan-Hobgood, CDTA volunteer program manager. “It's also a great introduction to the Continental Divide Trail, which, of course, belongs to all of us.”

National Environmental Education & Training Foundation, based in Washington D.C., expects more than $10 million in improvements to be realized from the one-day event whose 2006 theme is “Lend a Hand to America's Lands.” Up to 100,000 volunteers are expected to participate at a projected 1,000 sites around the country.

Work on the Continental Divide Trail is one of five projects scheduled for the Grand County area that day. Grand County has the longest record of participation in the country (12 out of the event's 13 years) and it is the largest event site – as many as 250 volunteers are expected. Continental Divide Trail Alliance will be one of nine nonprofit organizations participating. Others include Headwaters Trails Alliance, Colorado Mountain Club and Grand County Wilderness Group.

Besides the satisfaction of helping to preserve and protect their favorite public places, National Public Lands Day volunteers get a pass for a one-day visit to any site managed by any of the five participating federal agencies, including the National Park Service. Volunteers who work the Continental Divide Trail project also get a CDTA goody bag that includes a T-shirt.

Nationally Continental Divide Trail Alliance is one of more than 125 federal, state, county and local groups offering ways for volunteers to pitch in.

“Ten years ago National Public Lands Day was the launching pad for CDTA to develop partnerships with local communities and other volunteer organizations. Our program has grown and become more visible as a result,” said Paula Ward, Continental Divide Trail Alliance co-executive director.

In addition to the project in Colorado, Continental Divide Trail Alliance also is coordinating a National Public Lands Day project near Mesa Portales in New Mexico, an area rich in archaeological interest.

Volunteers can still sign up to work on the Continental Divide Trail for National Public Lands Day. No experience is necessary. For more information, contact Brenda Dolan-Hobgood at (303) 838-3760 or brenda@cdtrail.org.

Each year Continental Divide Trail Alliance coordinates more than 40 of its own volunteer projects in the five states encompassed by the 3,100-mile-long Trail (in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico). Projects range from one-day outings to weeklong backpacking trips deep in the back country. Some 1,000 volunteers work the Trail annually. They range in age from teens to the 70s and come from all over the country and the world. For many, working a CDTA volunteer project near desirable destinations like Rocky Mountain National Park or Yellowstone, or a variety of National Forests and Wilderness Areas, becomes a “volunteer vacation” and they sign up year after year.

The Continental Divide Trail was established by Congress as a National Scenic Trail in 1978. When complete, the “King of Trails” will be the most significant trail system in the world. Stretching 3,100 miles along the backbone of America from Canada to Mexico, it accesses some of the most wild and scenic places left in the world while conserving the environment and promoting personal well being.

Since 1995, the Continental Divide Trail Alliance has played a central role toward the completion, management and protection of the Trail, including coordinating more than 8,000 volunteers who have contributed more than $3.5 million in labor. Continental Divide Trail Alliance is the voice for unity in the diverse story of the Trail.

For more information about the Continental Divide Trail, call (303) 838-3760 or toll-free 1-888-909-CDTA (2382). Or visit www.cdtrail.org.


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