are National Trails?
The Iditarod National Historic Trail
is one of a number of trails designated by Congress in recognition
of their significance as scenic, recreational or historic transportation
routes. The Iditarod was specifically designated for its historic
importance. The system was created to provide areas of hiking and
for meeting the outdoor recreation needs of an ever-expanding urban
trails are designated as National Trails?
Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail -- E Mau Na Ala Hele
Appalachian National Scenic Trail -- Appalachian Trail Conservancy
California National Historic Trail --
Oregon-California Trails Association
Captain John Smith Chesapeake
National Historic Trail -- Friends of the Captain John Smith Trail
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail -- Continental Divide Trail
Alliance, Continental Divide Trail Society
El Camino Real de los Tejas National
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic
Trail -- El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association (CARTA)
Florida National Scenic Trail -- Florida Trail Association
Ice Age National Scenic Trail -- Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation, Inc.
Iditarod National Historic Trail -- Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance
Juan Bautista de Anza National
Historic Trail -- Amigos de Anza, Anza Trail Coalition of Arizona, Web
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail --Lewis and Clark
Trail Heritage Foundation, Inc., National Council for the Lewis and
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail -- Mormon
Trails Association Iowa, Mormon Trails Association
National Scenic Trail, Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic
Trail -- Nez Perce Trail Foundation
North Country National Scenic Trail -- North Country Trail Association
Old Spanish National Historic
Trail -- Old Spanish Trail Association
Oregon National Historic
Trail -- Oregon-California Trails Association
National Historic Trail -- Overmountain Victory Trail Association
Pacific Crest National Scenic
Trail -- Pacific Crest Trail Association
Pony Express National Historic
Trail -- National Pony Express Association, Pony Express Trail Association
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail -- Potomac Heritage Trail Association,
Allegheny Trail Alliance, Inc., C&O Canal Association
Fe National Historic Trail -- Santa Fe Trail Association
to Montgomery National Historic Trail -- Selma to Montgomery NHT Association
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail -- Trail of Tears Association
Who owns the Iditarod trail?
Because the Iditarod is such
a complex trail system, stretching from Seward in the south, to
Nome (mile 926) on the Bering Sea, it crosses lands owned by several
Native corporations, municipal governments and the State of Alaska
as well as federal lands managed by the BLM, the U.S. Forest Service,
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Defense.
In all there are 10 institutional land managers and numerous private
National Historic Trail
Seward to Nome
Iditarod is a magical
word not only in Alaska, but also in the Nation and in many other
parts of the world. It is a word that raises different images and
emotions in different people. To the oldest Alaskan Natives, it recalls
the approximate name of a 19th century Athabaskan Indian village on
a small river now also called Iditarod. To "Sourdoughs"
and others familiar with the State's history, IDITAROD refers to the
now-abandoned Gold Rush town of the 1910's and it's associated mining
district in South central Alaska. More technically, to the historian,
IDITAROD refers to the 1910 Seward-to-Nome mail trail surveyed by
the U.S. Army's Alaska Road Commission. Yet today the name IDITAROD,
above all in National recognition, symbolizes the dramatic, long distance
sled dog race between Anchorage and Nome held each March since 1973.
Iditarod River, 1911
In November of 1978, IDITAROD took
on still another meaning when the National
Trails System Act was amended. At the urging of the public,
Congress created a new category of the National Trails when the
Lewis and Clark, the Oregon, the Mormon-Pioneer, and the Iditarod
were designated as National Historic Trails.
The Iditarod National Historic Trail
(Iditarod NHT) is composed of the federally administered areas of
the Gold Rush Trail network which connect Seward in southern Alaska
with Nome in northwestern Alaska via the Iditarod Mining District.
The 938-mile Trail, commonly known as the "Iditarod Trail"
during the Iditarod Gold Rush of the 1910's, was formally constructed
by the Alaska Road Commission under the direction of Walter L. Goodwin
during 1910-11. This constitutes the Iditarod NHT's "Primary
Route." Yet branching from the primary route are hundreds of
miles of land and water based routes and trails. They were important
not only during the 1910's, but also during the entire Gold Rush Period
in Interior Alaska from the 1880's into the 1920's, with some based
on even earlier Indian Trails.In addition to the trails used during
this period, other route used yearly in the IDITAROD TRAIL SLED DOG
RACE are also part of this Trail System. Collectively, these trail
segments and associated historic sites make up what is referred to
as the IDITAROD NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL SYSTEM.
Traveling on the trail was
for even the hardiest of pioneers.
the IDITAROD NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL SYSTEM currently includes only
the federally administered portions of the Gold Rush trail system,
the remainder of the network will be recognized officially as components
of the National Trail System once cooperative agreements between
the Secretary of the Interior and the non-federal land managers
for the Bureau of Land Management, examine the remains
of an old dog barn near Pioneer Roadhouse, Mile 330
on the Iditarod Trail.
The Iditarod National Historic Trail
Comprehensive Management Plan, as mandated by Congress, represents
the cooperative efforts of the Bureau
of Land Management, the Forest Service, the Fish & Wildlife
Service, the National Park Service, the State of Alaska, the Iditarod
National Historic Trail Advisory Council, various local governments,
Native corporations, and interest groups, as well as hundreds of
individuals. Together, these agencies, groups, and individuals have
proposed a cooperative management philosophy.
This management philosophy, which
is based on the spirit of cooperation and on formal agreements,
seems particularly appropriate for Alaska. The entire Trail system
would be managed as a unit by a coalition of volunteer Trail organizations
in partnership with the local land managers who are ultimately responsible
for the various segments of the Trail.
Survey party of the Goodwin
expedition around 1911
The IDITAROD NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
is unique in Alaskan and American history. It represents the last
vestiges of a truly remote and wild trail system which today remains
much the same as it was 75 years ago. We trust that as stewards
of this remarkable nonrenewable resource, we will work cooperatively
to preserve a prominent part of America's past for future generations
who will treasure this resource as much as or more than we do today.
Iditasport Race 1989 - ©
The Iditarod Trail Today
Unlike the Appalachian or Pacific Crest national trails which are
located near heavily populated areas, most of the Iditarod is located
in remote areas with sparse populations. The Iditarod evolved as a
winter access route to various mining districts. As a result, the
trail tended to follow features which required little to no construction.
Swamps, tundra bogs, lakes and unbridged rivers became pathways during
the long winter. Most current use occurs when the tundra and rivers
are frozen and easier to cross.
Today, only a small portion of the trail can be hiked during the summer
months due to the thick wet tundra vegetation and voracious mosquitoes
on much of the trail. However, short segments of the trail can be
hiked near Seward on the Chugach National Forest or near Anchorage
on Chugach State Park. Visitors to Nome can also follow the trail
east of town along the Bering Sea coast. Winter trail users include
dog mushers, skiers, snowmachiners and even mountain bikers.
Bison -- A wild self-sustaining herd
of American bison (Bison bison) is located near Farewell, Alaska.
North American bison also known as Wood bison (Bison bison athabascae)
were once part of the native Alaska fauna. These bison became extinct
in Alaska only a few hundred years ago. The reason for this relatively
recent extinction is not known for certain. Some scientists have suggested
that it might have been caused by over hunting by early humans and/or
changes in the bison's habitat. Wood Bison can still be found in some
areas of Canada.
In addition to the Iditarod Trail Sled
Dog Race, other competitive events include the Iron
Dog -- Gold Rush Classic Snowmachine race (the World's longest)
which is run from near Anchorage to Nome and back, and the Iditasport
human endurance competition for skiers, runners, and mountain bikers.