Guide 2018

brochure Iditarod - Guide 2018
IDITAROD NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL VISITOR GUIDE HIT THE TRAIL page 3 HISTORIC OVERVIEW page 6 BIRTH OF SLED DOG RACING page 20 Table of Contents Iditarod Trail System Map........... 4 Alaska’s Enduring Trail ............... 6 Kenai Mountains ....................... 9 Turnagain Arm ........................ 10 Anchorage Area ...................... 12 Wasilla Area ........................... 13 INHT Stamp Program .............. 14 Tips for Trail Travel .................. 16 Public Shelter Cabins............... 17 McGrath................................. 18 Unalakleet .............................. 18 Nome .................................... 19 Sled Dog Racing ..................... 20 More than a Race Trail ............. 21 Volunteers Keep the Trail Open ......................... 22 Iditarod Historic Trail VISITOR GUIDE Contributions and Assistance from Judy Bittner, Annette Heckart, Kevin Keeler, Robert King, Carrie Cecil All photos courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) unless otherwise noted. Printed on chlorine-free paper using soy-based ink. The Iditarod Historic Trail is published by the Alaska Geographic Association in cooperation with BLM. This free publication is made possible with funding from the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, BLM, and revenue from Alaska Geographic Association bookstore sales. © Alaska Geographic Produced and Designed by: Cover photo: Bob Wick Top cover photo: Anchorage Museum 2 Celebrating Alaska’s National Historic Trail! In 1968, Congress passed the National Trails System Act. The Act established a nationwide system of trails to provide for outdoor recreation and the enjoyment and conservation of scenic, historic, natural, and cultural areas of national significance. In doing so, the Act also recognized the valuable role and contributions of the many volunteers and nonprofit trail groups that help to develop and maintain our nation’s trails. Fifty years later, we continue to celebrate the amazing work of these groups and their continued efforts in preserving and promoting our National Trails System. The Iditarod National Historic Trail consists of a network of nearly 2,400 miles of winter trails that wind between the communities of Seward and Nome. It was named a National Historic Trail by Congress on November 10, 1978. It is both a symbol of frontier travel during the last great American gold-rush (1910-1917), and a celebration of the role that mushers and their dog teams played in settling Alaska. Across America, only 19 trails have been honored as National Historic Trails. The Iditarod is the only National Historic Trail in Alaska, and the only winter trail in the entire National Historic Trail system. No one entity manages the entire Iditarod National Historic Trail. The Bureau of Land Management was appointed to coordinate the efforts of public land managers and volunteers on behalf of the Trail, but the actual management, maintenance, and preservation of the Trail, including the natural and cultural sites located along it, is a group effort. A variety of entities (federal, state, local government, nonprofit, and private) are actively involved in promoting the history, use, protection, and development of the Iditarod National Historic Trail. There are many ways to enjoy the Iditarod National Historic Trail. From mushing to museums, hiking to historic gold mines, we hope you can join us in celebrating the spirit and place of America’s last great gold rush trail. See you out on the Trail! How to Hit the Trail Southcentral Alaska: Check out the paved bike path along Resurrection Bay in Seward. Backpack over the Crow Pass Trail from Girdwood to the Eagle River Nature Center. Visit the Eagle River Nature Center in Chugach State Park and see spawning salmon during the late summer. Stroll on the Trail at Bird Point along the Seward Highway and check out interpretive panels along the way. Why You Don’t Want to Walk to Nome (in Summer) Five hundred miles of swamp, ankle busting tussocks, clouds of mosquitoes, and enough creek and river crossings to make you want to grow webbed feet! Much of the country crossed by the historic Iditarod Trail north of Knik consists of flat, boggy basins lined with permafrost and punctuated by black spruce. There’s a reason the old-timers rode the steamers up and down the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers in the summer. There are good stretches of high country that will give you a taste of the Trail, but if you want to seek out the flats, know before you go and bring your bug spray! Hike the Trail in Girdwood, stopping at Crow Creek Mine to pan for gold. Visit the replica Iditarod Trail public shelter cabin at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters in Wasilla. Ride the Alaska Railroad into the Kenai Mountains and explore Alaska’s roadless backcountry at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop in the Chugach National Forest. View the waterfowl and the Knik River crossing of the Trail at Reflections Lake, at mile 30 of the Glenn Highway. Interior/Rivers Region: Charter a small plane from the community of McGrath to visit the ghost town of Iditarod. Fly mountain bikes to Takotna and ride old mining roads to the Ophir goldfields. Fish for silver salmon on the Unalakleet River along the Kaltag Portage. Fly into the BLM Rohn Shelter Cabin and backpack 30 miles over Rainy Pass for a floatplane pick up near Puntilla Lake. Bering Sea Coast: Visit the city of Nome and experience the beaches that were once filled with gold! Drive out from Nome on the Council Highway to the Safety Sound Bridge, and walk the Trail on the beach of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Snowmachine, skijor, or dog mush from village to village, stopping at public safety cabins along the way. Cheer on participants of the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race, Iron Dog Snowmobile Race, and human-powered Iditarod Trail Invitational and Iditasport Ultra Marathon as they travel along the coast towards Nome. 3 NOME SAFETY N O R T O N 15 SOLOMON WHITE MOUNTAIN GOLOVIN ELIM S O U N D SAINT MICHAEL GRAYLING ANVIK CANDLE KOYUK SHAKTOOLIK 14 12 UNALAKLEET N K O Y U SHAGELUK R V E R I KOYUKUK E R R I V O N Y U K EAGLE ISLAND 11 OTTER HOLY CROSS 13 10 NULATO KALTAG GA DISHKAKAT 9 8 6 OPHIR IDITAROD TAKOTNA FLAT MCGRATH Bering Sea Coast Interior/Rivers Region A L A Southcentral Region Public Safety Cabin Historic Trail (Seward to Nome) Connecting Trails Bering Sea Coast 1. Crow Pass (USFS)* 8. Tol 2. Eagle River Nature Center (ERNC)* 9. His 3. Historic ARC [Skwentna Crossing] (AK DNR) 10. Mo 4. Rohn (BLM) 11. Big Interior/Rivers Region 5. Bear Creek (BLM) 12. Trip Southcentral Region 6. Carlson Crossing (AK DNR) 13. Old Town or Place Name 7. N. Fork Innoko (AK DNR) 14. Foo Abandoned Town Race Checkpoint 4 K E T L I N K O C O Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Route S A 15. Top (All cabins are available for public use without res For more information on these cabins se Iditarod National Historic Trail ALENA RUBY 1925 Serum Route Y U K O N 7 R I V E R TANANA 1925 Serum Route CRIPPLE NENANA NIKOLAI 5 4 G E N A R ROHN RAINY PASS PUNTILLA LAKE A FINGER LAKE SKWENTNA 3 YENTNA WILLOW KNIK SUSITNA STATION ANCHORAGE WASILLA EKLUTNA 2 EAGLE RIVER 1 GIRDWOOD HOPE WHITTIER MOOSE PASS SEWARD lstoi Headwaters (AK DNR) storic ARC [Don’s] (AK DNR) oose Creek (AK DNR) g Yentna Crossing (AK DNR) pod Flat (BLM) d Woman (BLM) othills (BLM) pkok Mushers (Nome Kennel Club) servation unless noted [*]. ee pages 16–17). Image courtesy of the Anchorage Museum. 5 Alaska’s Enduring Trail At the turn of the twentieth century in Alaska, transportation between boomtowns like Nome, Fairbanks, and Valdez relied on river and ocean steamers in summer, and horse and sled dog teams in the winter. In 1908, the Alaska Road Commission (ARC) sought a shorter winter overland route to Nome than the existing 1,300-mile route from Valdez through Fairbanks. The ARC dispatched Colonel Walter Goodwin and a crew of three men with their dog teams to scout a winter trail from Seward, over the Alaska Range, to Nome. As surveyed, the new trail was 958 miles long—nearly 400 miles shorter than the existing overland route. Despite this, Goodwin concluded that the lack of population and low demand for mail service made its development unnecessary. That was until Christmas Day 1908 when gold was discovered on a tributary of the Iditarod River. In fall 1908, prospectors Johnny Beaton and Bill Dikeman had driven a small steamboat up the Iditarod River, built a tiny cabin, and began melting the frozen ground and hand-digging small exploratory pits on streambeds. Beaton and Dikeman dug 26 pits without any luck before hitting pay dirt on Christmas Day. The gold they found was 12 feet beneath the ground surface. The Iditarod goldfields became the fourth most productive district in all of Alaska. The Iditarod rush was the last great American gold rush. Over 65 tons of gold, or about $2.5 billion dollars at today’s value, were taken out of the Iditarod district – and much of it by dogsled! Goodwin expedition measuring the Seward to Nome route with cyclometer attached to a dogsled. Boomtowns, Gold Trains, and Roadhouses Even by Alaska standards, the Iditarod goldfields were so remote that it wasn’t until summer 1910 that stampeders arrived. But within three months, goldseekers had built two new towns: Iditarod and Flat. Each town was home to about 2,000 citizens. By winter 1910, “gold-train” sled dog teams packed with a half-ton of gold each made the three-week run from to Seward. Tons of gold came out, and tons of freight, food, and mail went in. Roadhouses and trail-marking ‘tripods’ lined the 520-mile route to Seward from Iditarod. Located a day’s journey by foot or dog team—about 20 miles— the roadhouses allowed travel without the need for overnight camping or carrying of three weeks of provisions. Thousands of fortune seekers, many on foot or snowshoe, traveled across Alaska on this trail system. By 1918, however, the steady stream of travelers along the trail turned into a trickle. World War I drew young miners and workers away from the goldfields. At the same time, new winter mail contracts bypassed the fading town of Iditarod in favor of more direct routes to Nome. Pre-RussoEuro Contact 1843 RUSSIANS BEGIN USING THE KALTAG NATIVE PEOPLE FROM PORTAGE, A SEWARD PENINSULA TRADITIONAL TO PRINCE WILLIAM ALASKA NATIVE SOUND ESTABLISH TRADING ROUTE TRAILS LATER USED AS THAT RUNS BETWEEN THE IDITAROD TRAIL THE COMMUNITIES OF KALTAG AND UNALAKLEET 6 1867 1900 1903 1908 1908 1910-1912 THE UNITED STATES PURCHASES ALASKA FROM RUSSIA GOLD FLAKES ARE FOUND IN THE SANDS OF NOME’S BEACHES PROMPTING A RUSH OF MINERS TO THE REGION THE CITY OF SEWARD FORMED AS START OF NEW RAILROAD LINKING COAST TO INTERIOR SEWARD TO NOME ROUTE EXPLORED BY COLONEL WALTER GOODWIN THE ALASKA ROAD COMMISSION SENDS COLONEL WALTER GOODWIN AND HIS CREW TO SCOUT A SEWARDTO-NOME TRAIL TEN THOUSAND STAMPEDERS RUSH TO MINING CAMPS BETWEEN IDITAROD AND RUBY Nome Serum Run Marks the Beginning of the End In the winter of 1925, a deadly outbreak of diphtheria threatened Nome’s residents. Winter ice had closed the port city from the outside world without enough serum to vaccinate its residents. Serum from Anchorage was rushed by train to Nenana and then picked up by a sled dog relay. Twenty of Alaska’s best mushers and their teams carried the serum 674 miles from Nenana to Nome in less than five and a half days! This was to be one of the final great feats by sled dogs during this era. Within a decade, air transport replaced the sled dog team as the preferred way to ship mail. With downturns in gold mining, most of the roadhouses closed, boomtowns emptied, and the Iditarod Trail fell into disuse. A Partnership Effort Reopens the Iditarod Trail After the end of the Last Great Gold Rush, the Iditarod Trail system was reclaimed by forest and tundra for almost half a century until Alaskans, led by Joe Redington, Sr., reopened the routes. Joe and his friends created an epic sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome following the route of the historic Iditarod Trail. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race helped revive dog mushing in Alaska and around the world. Thanks to the efforts of Joe and the Alaska Congressional delegation, the Iditarod was established as a National Historic Trail in 1978. Alaska Fire Service crew member puts the finishing touches on a tripod in the Farewell Burn, 1981. Tripods Lead to Safety For the past century, wooden tripods have been placed at close intervals along treeless sections of the Iditarod Trail to guide travelers safely through blizzards. A 1912 article in Alaska Yukon Magazine titled “Trail Making in Alaska” described how Colonel Goodwin, leader of the Alaska Road Commission expedition to mark the trail from Seward to Nome, constructed the tripods: “… tripods… consisted of three sticks of timber each, two of which were eight feet long and the third ten or eleven feet long. They are so fastened together that the longest of the three sticks projects two or three feet over the others and directly above the trail.” Because the tripods sat on top of the ground rather than in it, they could more easily flex between cold, dry, warm, or wet seasons. This meant fewer broken trail markers. The same tripod design is still in use today. Volunteer groups and public land managers work to provide these safety markers over hundreds of miles of the trail. 1910-1911 1912 AK ROAD ALASKA COMMISSION BECOMES A SPENDS $10,000 TO TERRITORY CONSTRUCT SEWARDTO-NOME TRAIL WITH A BRANCH TO THE IDITAROD GOLDFIELDS 1914 1918 1925 1968 1973 1978 U.S. MAIL CARRIED THE LENGTH OF THE ‘IDITAROD TRAIL’; U.S. GOVERNMENT TAKES OVER CONSTRUCTION OF ALASKA RAILROAD, ESTABLISHING NEW HEADQUARTERS ON COOK INLET WORLD WAR I DRAWS YOUNG MINERS AND WORKERS AWAY FROM THE GOLD FIELDS LEADING TO THE END OF THE STAMPEDE DIPHTHERIA EPIDEMIC THREATENS NOME; SERUM IS DELIVERED VIA DOG TEAM FROM NENANA THE NATIONAL TRAILS SYSTEM ACT IS PASSED BY CONGRESS ON OCTOBER 2 THE FIRST IDITAROD TRAIL SLED DOG RACE IS RUN TO NOME IDITAROD NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL ESTABLISHED BY CONGRESS 7 Attractions Along the Iditarod National Historic Trail in Southcentral Alaska Dorothy E. Page Museum and Visitor Center PALMER WASILLA Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters Knik Museum Alaska Sled Dog Mushers Hall of Fame Reflections Lake & Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge KNIK EKLUTNA Eklutna Historic Park EAGLE RIVER Chugach State Park Eagle River Nature Center (ERNC) ERNC Public Use Cabins and Yurts ANCHORAGE Anchorage Museum Alaska Public Lands Information Center Ship Creek / Indian Pass Trail Crow Pass Trail Crow Pass Cabin (USFS) Bird to Gird Bike Trail Turn a Winner Creek Trails Crow Creek Mine Site Alyeska Roundhouse Museum US Forest Service Ranger Station GIRDWOOD gain A rm HOPE Portage Whistle Stop Hope Historical Museum WHITTIER Turnagain Pass Trail of Blue Ice Chugach State Park Johnson Pass Trail Chugach National Forest Spencer Whistle Stop Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT) Hiking Trails / Biking (part of INHT system) Roads MOOSE PASS Railroad Museum Chugach National Forest Hiking Whistle Stop/AKRR Visitor Center Historic Mine Site Bike Trail Wildlife Viewing Seward Community Library and Museum Public Use Shelter 0 8 5 10 20 Miles Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center SEWARD Begich, Boggs Visitor Center Southcentral Region Kenai Mountains Seward (Mile 0) Look for the tripod and historic Iditarod Trail monument located along the shoreline of Resurrection Bay next to the Alaska SeaLife Center. This is the southernmost terminus for the historic Iditarod Trail. During the gold rush era, thousands of people set off from Seward trying to realize their dreams of fortune. A paved segment of the historic trail follows the bay for one mile to the small boat harbor. See statues of historic mushers, including one of the famous Japanese musher Jujiro Wada, along the waterfront trail. Johnson Pass Trail This 23-mile trail is part of the historic Iditarod Trail system. It is one of many commemorative Iditarod Trail segments in the Chugach National Forest. Popular with mountain bikers and hikers, this trail offers spectacular scenery with hemlock forests, wildflowers, and sweeping vistas. This is an excellent trail for a multi-day family outings. Wildlife viewing, hunting, and fishing opportunities also exist. Trailheads at mile 64 of the Seward Highway (north end) and mile 32.5 of the Seward Highway (south end). Seward Community Library and Museum The Resurrection Bay Historical Society maintains a museum in downtown Seward that tells the history of the area and the Iditarod. If you visit during the summer, be sure to catch one of their evening programs on the history of the Iditarod Trail. For more information on the mission and activities of the Resurrection Bay Historical Society visit Alaska Railroad & Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop Hop on board the Alaska Railroad and follow the main route of the historic Iditarod Trail deep into the roadless backcountry of the Chugach National Forest. The Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop is the first in a series of whistle stops that offers hiking, glacier viewing, and amazing scenery. Trips can be arranged through the Alaska Railroad at 9 Turnagain Arm Portage Valley-Trail of Blue Ice MILE 0 Kenai Fjords National Park Information Center The Trail of Blue Ice is a segment of the Southern Trek section of the historic Iditarod Trail system. Located in the Chugach National Forest, in the glacially carved Portage Valley, the trail starts at the Moose Flats Day Use Site. This wide and wellsurfaced trail runs five miles to the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center. All sections are accessible and great for a family outing. Seward of Yesteryear “Seward Route to the Iditarod the Only Way” Headline from Seward Weekly Gateway Paper, Nov. 1909 Although officially founded in 1903, the town of Seward bustled with prospectors for at least a decade prior to its incorporation. The year-round ice-free waters of Resurrection Bay made Seward an ideal port and supply point for booming Interior Alaska mining communities. The first wave of commerce came to Seward in the late 1890s with the discovery of gold on the north side of the Kenai Peninsula at Hope and Sunrise. As new gold strikes were made in other places around Alaska, community boosters worked hard to make sure that Seward stayed on the map. They pressed for the development of a government trail leading from Seward to the new Iditarod goldfields in the Upper Innoko Basin. In December 1909, the town hired a Japanese businessman and adventurer named Jujiro Wada to help survey a route from Seward to Iditarod. Despite several setbacks along the way— including prolonged temperatures of minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit—Wada and his team were successful. Newspapers touted the advantages of the Seward route over the Richardson Trail from Valdez to Fairbanks. In 1910, the Alaska Road Commission decided to spend $10,000 to construct a trail connecting Seward to Nome. 10 Begich, Boggs Visitor Center Built on the terminal moraine left behind by Portage Glacier, the visitor center offers interactive displays, videos, and educational programs about the natural history of the Chugach National Forest. The visitor center is open seven days a week during the summer and closed through the winter season. Seward Highway All-American Road Considered to be one of the best scenic byways in the United States, the Seward Highway extends 125 miles from Seward to Anchorage along the Kenai Peninsula and Turnagain Arm. When following the Seward Highway, you are actually following much of the historic Iditarod Trail. Road signs direct drivers to numerous trailheads and campsites located just off the highway. Hope Historic District The small, quiet communities of Hope and nearby Sunrise were once booming gold rush cities in the late 1890s. Many of the old buildings and charm of the gold rush days still remain in Hope. In fact, the downtown store opened in 1896 and is still serving customers today. Be sure to check out the Hope-Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum. Girdwood The town of Girdwood was established in 1906 as a place to rest and gather supplies before crossing the Iditarod Trail over the Chugach Mountains. Today, the town hosts some of the most easily accessed and historically intact segments of the Iditarod Trail. Wide, paved bike paths parallel the Alyeska Highway in the lower valley, while moss-shrouded rainforest sections start at trailheads from mile 1.6 of Crow Creek Road. For more information, visit the U.S. Forest Service Glacier Ranger District office just off the Alyeska Highway, or look for maps at nearby trailheads. Crow Creek Mine Visitors can pan for gold, camp, and get a feel for life in a historic gold camp at one of the largest intact historic mines in Southcentral Alaska (summer only). Established in 1896, the Crow Creek Mine was the most productive placer mining camp in the Turnagain-Knik region, and a heavy user of the Iditarod Trail to Seward. Crow Pass Trail At the end of Crow Creek Road, a 3.5-mile segment of the historic Iditarod Trail route leads to Crow Pass—the highest point on the entire Seward to Nome trail. This is one of the most scenic hikes in all of Southcentral Alaska and a great way to experience the Trail. Adventurous backpackers can continue over the pass on a 24-mile traverse of Chugach State Park, finishing at the Eagle River Nature Center. The Forest Service rents a public use cabin in the Crow Pass area. Summer use only is recommended due to avalanche hazards. Tips for traveling on the trail can be found on pages 16 and 17. Bird to Gird National Recreation Trail (Girdwood to Indian Pathway) Roundhouse Museum at Alyeska Resort The Roundhouse Museum is located in a historic chairlift terminal high above the Girdwood Valley. The museum exhibits focus on outdoor recreation and skiing but include some information about the history of gold mining activities in the area as well. Accessed via the Alyeska Resort tram, the museum provides a grand view of the Iditarod route across the Chugach Mountains. Open summer and winter. First cut by trail builders in 1908 seeking to avoid the avalanche prone Crow Pass Trail, today’s route is a wide 13-mile, bike-friendly asphalt trail. There are frequent turnouts, numerous information displays, and great opportunities for wildlife viewing along this portion of the trail. Trailheads are located at the Bird Point rest stop at mile 96.1 on the Seward Highway and behind the Chugach National Forest Ranger Station on the Alyeska Highway in Girdwood. Winner Creek Trails Long a favorite with local residents, the Winner Creek segment of the historic Iditarod Trail provides access to the spectacular Four Corners Gorge and an exciting hand-operated tram over the chasm. The Winner Creek Trail is accessible from both Crow Creek Road and the Alyeska Hotel. The Upper Winner Creek Trail to Berry Pass provides a nine-mile route to a spectacular alpine pass. There are multiple water crossings along this primitive trail. 11 Anchorage Area Ship Creek / Indian Pass Trail Mile 118 Alaska Public Lands Information Center Anchorage of Yesteryear Anchorage was a blank spot on the map when the Seward-to-Nome government trail opened in 1910. All of this changed in 1915, when the federal government established the townsite of Anchorage as the headquarters of the soon-to-be-built Alaska Railroad. The main route of the Iditarod Trail soon included the new boomtown, and dog teams loaded with hundreds of thousands of dollars of Iditarod gold became a regular sight on Anchorage’s main streets. Every winter until 1919 when the railroad segment to the ice-free port of Seward was completed, Anchorage received its winter mail and supplies by dog teams traveling the Indian Valley/Ship Creek Trail. The main hotel in town even included dog kennels in the basement for visiting mushers. A largely unimproved, 20-mile traverse through rainforest, alpine and sub-boreal forest, this excursion is best done on skis in winter. Improved segments at either end provide enjoyable ‘out-and-back’ day trips, but to travel the full length requires a bit more planning and fortitude. It is accessible year-round on the Ship Creek side via scenic Arctic Valley Road just north of Anchorage, off the Glenn Highway at Arctic Valley exit. The trailhead at Indian Valley is located just off the Seward Highway by the community of Indian at mile 23 of the Seward Highway. Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Ceremonial Start Every year on the first Saturday of March, dozens of mushers and dog teams start their journey to Nome with a warm-up trip over the trails of Anchorage. From Fourth Avenue, teams fly down the Cordova Street hill to the paved Chester Creek bike path, and head east to finish their run at the Bureau of Land Management’s Campbell Tract Facility. Good opportunities for wildlife viewing can be had on the trails year round. Alaska Public Lands Information Center This interagency visitor center on Fourth Avenue can provide details on Iditarod Trail-related recreation described in this guide, as well as other opportunities throughout Alaska. Open year-round; more information available at Eagle River Nature Center The upper Eagle River Valley was once described by U.S. Army explorers on the Iditarod a century ago as a “miniature Yosemite.” The nonprofit Eagle River Nature Center provides nature studies for adults and children, nine miles of hiking trails—including a portion of the historic Iditarod Trail—and overnight camping (by reservation) at a public use cabin and three yurts. Located at mile 10 on Eagle River Road, the site is open year round. Eklutna Historic Park This Dena’ina Athabaskan village site, established in 1650, was a winter Knik River crossing site for the historic Iditarod Trail. A museum, historic Russian Orthodox church from the 1840s, and colorfully decorated graveyard ‘spirit houses’ provide a window into the past. Open to the public from May 15 through September 15. Guided tours are available during the summer season. On Eklutna Village Road in Chugiak. Image Courtesy of the Anchorage Museum Archives: Alaska Railroad Collection. 12 Wasilla Area Reflections Lake at Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge Excellent waterfowl viewing and stunning Chugach mountain scenery can be found at the over-the-Knik River ice crossing site of the old Iditarod Trail. A flat, one-mile gravel trail winds around Reflections Lake leading to a 35-foot tall viewing tower on the northwest side of the lake that offers hidden views into this unique intertidal wetland. Access at the Reflections Lake exit at mile 30 on the Glenn Highway. Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters A large log building houses a museum with memorabilia, displays, and photographs dating back to the first runs of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1973. A public shelter cabin replica is located on site with artifacts and information associated with the historic uses of the Iditarod Trail. The site is open year round and dog sled rides are offered May to September. Mile 2.2 Knik-Goose Bay Road. Knik Museum—Alaska Sled Dog Mushers Hall of Fame Located on the main route of the historic Iditarod Trail where it passed through the gold rush era town of Knik, the museum building was previously used as a pool hall and roadhouse. The first floor contains artifacts and photographs from the historic Knik townsite, while the second floor is home to the Sled Dog Mushers Hall of Fame. Visitors can take short walks along a portion of the historic trail that passes near the museum. At mile 13.9 Knik-Goose Bay Road. Dorothy E. Page Museum and Visitor Center Owned and operated by the City of Wasilla, this museum consists of eleven historic structures in downtown Wasilla, including two listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Experience interactive dog mushing and gold mining exhibits, as well as a temporary, rotating exhibit space. Open year round, although summer and winter hours may vary. Mile 147 Knik Museum and Mushers Hall of Fame Knik of Yesteryear During the Iditarod gold rush, Knik was the last major outfitting center before stampeders struck out for gold mines 375 miles to the northwest. Stampeders would travel to Knik either by trail over the Chugach Mountains, or by steamship up the Cook Inlet from Seward. At its peak population, Knik was home to 1,500 people, a variety of businesses, and was the hub for a number of trails to goldfields and coalfields. The founding of Anchorage and the Alaska Railroad’s bypassing of Knik caused the town’s rapid decline—by 1920 the majority of its population had moved on. “Normally a small and quiet village, Knik was in the throes of a boom. The hotel was a new, two-story frame building, but construction-wise a mere shell. From the small downstairs lobby one could hear a man change his mind in the farthest room upstairs” Harold Peckenpaugh, 1912, from Nuggets and Beans 13 Trail od trail system Mail onimtpohrte Iditar ant uses of the apers, t stcards, newsp One of the mos y route. The po er eir liv de l ai m a rs hauled on th was as that mail carrie s ith er w tt s le ie d it an un , catalogs ral comm ru of s nt de si re the n average, sleds provided orld outside. O w e th to on ti nnec ong the trail an essential co s were made al ip tr l ai m e re d th expected to between two an “musher,” was or r, ie rr ca l ai m eir sleds! each week. Each ds of mail on th un po 0 25 d an 100 carry between POST CAR D Images courtesy of the Robert E. King Collection. D POST CAR 14 RD POST CA Alaska Iditarod National Historic Trail Passport Stamp Program The Iditarod National Historic Trail is a proud participant in the Passport to Your National Parks Program. This program was created to help visitors explore their National Parks and has become a popular way for people to document their travels to all of America’s Public Lands! More information, including how to purchase a Passport, can be found at, or from Alaska Geographic. Many of the historical sites, museums, and visitor centers mentioned in the previous pages are participants in the Passport Program (see full list below). You can go to these sites to get your Iditarod National Historic Trail stamps! These pages, filled with historical postcard images of locations and activities along the Iditarod Trail are a place for you to collect INHT stamps. Iditarod NHT Passport Stamp Participants Seward: Center Kenai Fjords National Park Information Hope: Museum Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Portage: Begich, Boggs Visitor Center Girdwood: The Roundhouse Museum Anchorage: BLM Anchorage Field Office (Campbell Tract) Knik: Alaska Public Lands Information Center (Downtown Anchorage) Alaska Railroad, Anchorage-to-Seward Route (Aboard the Train) Knik Museum and Mushers Hall of Fame Wasilla: Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters McGrath: McGrath Museum Nome: Nome Visitors Center PO ST CA RD Why November 10, 1978? The example passport stamps shown in this Visitor Guide include the date November 10, 1978. On this day, Congress designated the Iditarod National Historic Trail. 15 Tips for Trail Travel There are many different ways to get outside and enjoy the Iditarod National Historic Trail. In the summer season, popular trail activities include hiking, biking, packrafting, and camping. During the winter months, skiing, dog sledding, fat biking, and snowmachining are just some of the ways you can experience all that the trail has to offer. Regardless of when you go, here are a few thi

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