The Continental Divide Trail (CDT) Greenways group organizes walking and walkability efforts in the Silver City area. The group seeks to establish an interconnected greenway corridor and pathway system that promotes healthful, social, and economic opportunities for Silver City and Grant County residents and visitors. Ultimately, it hopes to make these area-wide connections to the Gila National Forest and the CDT. The group is an informal grassroots organization made up of healthcare providers, elected officials, walkers, hikers, equestrians, public school administrators, and citizens. The New Mexico Department of Health’s Southwest Region Health Promotion Team and the University of New Mexico’s Prevention Research Center are part of this collaborative effort.
The effort to develop a trail system in Silver City goes back to at least 2001, largely inspired by the town’s purchase of a 500 acre open space parcel on Boston Hill. Local residents worked with the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program to create the Trails and Open Space Plan that was adopted by the Town Council in 2002. In 2013 the precursor to the CDT Greenways group organized an American Hiking Society National Trails Day celebration which featured guided hikes, the premiere of a film about local trails, the introduction of our Rx “Trails of Grant County” booklet, and a lecture by Richard Kozoll, M.D. Also in 2013, the Town Council adopted the Silver City Greenways and Big Ditch Master Plan. The Continental Divide Trail Coalition designated Silver City as the first CDT Gateway Community the next year. The community has hosted Trail Days, a three-day event celebrating the beginning of the CDT thru-hiking season, ever since.
The Continental Divide Trail (CDT) Greenways group became a VIVA Connects Action Community in 2017 following the CDT Trail Days event. As part of this year’s celebration, VIVA program staff attended events and photographed local trails to include on the Trails of New Mexico Website and the Trails Across New Mexico app. VIVA staff also participated in the CDT Coalition sponsored hike to the crest of Gomez Peak.
The group’s goals include:
- Improving access to a variety of areas suitable for walking and hiking, activities shown to improve fitness and reduce the incidence of chronic disease
- Encouraging families to participate in active, healthy, safe, and enjoyable outdoor activities
- Supporting the local tourism economy by attracting outdoor recreation enthusiasts
- Increasing property values by attracting businesses and employees
- Promoting awareness of unique historic and cultural character of the Town
- Protecting sensitive riparian areas
The CDT Greenways group is currently working on improving trail signage, updating the Trails of Grant County Hiking and Walking Guide to include CDT connector trails, and making more information available to people at a new kiosk located at the Silver City Visitors Center, the VIVA Connects website, and the Trails Across New Mexico app.
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. This graph shows the percentage of adults who meet this recommendation in Grant County (including Silver City) as compared to New Mexico and the United States in the years 2011, 2013, and 2015.
For more information on health stats in Grant County, check out the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.
Want to get involved in what Silver City is doing? Contact the Silver City Visitors Center at http://www.visitsilvercity.org/ or visit their new kiosk located at 201 North Hudson Street.