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Dan Seavey to Commemorate Historic Iditarod Centennial in 2012 Race

Lifetime Iditarod Trail steward Dan Seavey is entering the 2012 Iditarod Sled Dog Race to commemorate the Centennial of the old gold rush trail between Seward and Nome that is now one of America’s National Historic Trails.  Wearing bib number 100, Seavey will be recognizing the vital role community leaders and volunteers have played in revitalizing the historic Iditarod Trail over the past 40 years.  Seavey’s run to Nome is sponsored by the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) primary non-profit partner for the trail.

Seavey helped establish both the Iditarod National Historic Trail and the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in the 1970s.  He competed in and completed the 1st, 2nd, 25th, and 29th Iditarod races, and is now entering the 40th Iditarod Race.

Seavey was a charter member of the Secretary of the Interior’s Advisory Council for the Trail in the 1980s, started the Seward Iditarod Trailblazers to rebuild the old trail on the Kenai Peninsula, was on the Board of Directors for the Iditarod Race Committee, and is a current board member and past president of the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance.  Seavey also raised a family of long distance sled dog racing champions, two of which will also be running in the 2012 race (son Mitch and grandson Dallas).

A ‘Centennial Musher Send-Off’ event will take place in Anchorage at the BLM Campbell Creek Science Center, after the finish of the Iditarod Ceremonial Start on Saturday March 3, 2012.  Seavey then will make informal presentations after his arrival in trail-side communities north of the Alaska Range.  Stops include Nikolai, McGrath, Takotna, Ruby, Galena, Nulato, Kaltag, Unalakleet, Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Elim, Golovin, White Mountain and Nome.  Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to come out and learn more about the Iditarod National Historic Trail, and follow Seavey’s progress at the Iditarod Alliance Facebook site.

The historic Iditarod Trail Centennial commemorates the opening between 1908 and 1912 of a continuous winter trail between Seward and Nome to the Iditarod goldfields, based on ancient Native Alaskan trails.  The historic Iditarod Trail is considered to be America’s last great gold rush trail.  Over 53 tons of gold--worth $2.1 billion dollars at current values--was hauled from Iditarod to Seward between 1911 and 1920, mostly by dogsled.  The heyday of the Alaskan sled dog trails concluded just after the 1925 Serum Run to Nome, when aircraft took on many of the winter freight hauling jobs once handled by dogs.

In 1978, after a sustained effort by the same Alaskan dog-sledding enthusiasts who started the Iditarod race, the winter trail from Seward to Nome was designated as a National Historic Trail.  The Iditarod is one of only 19 trail systems in the United States with the prestigious designation as a National Historic Trail.  Today the historic Iditarod trail system is home to three internationally famous long-distance winter races and is used annually for recreation, subsistence hunting, and overland winter travel between Alaskan communities.

Unlike National Scenic Trails, no one agency manages the entire Historic Trail.  Management is guided by a cooperative plan adopted by state and federal agencies in the 1980s.  The BLM is the lead federal agency for the trail and is responsible for coordinating and facilitating partnership efforts to implement the plan, including establishing a continuously marked route from Seward to Nome, along with managing 150 miles of the actively used trail and five public shelter cabins.

To celebrate the Trail Centennial, the BLM, the Alliance and its partners have dedicated over 1,500 miles of public trail easements on state lands, developed 6 new public safety shelters and restored two historic safety cabins, marked and upgraded over 200 miles of trail, and started a continuing education program for Alaskan teachers based on the historic trail.

For more information and to follow Centennial Musher Dan Seavey’s progress, see

http://www.iditarod100.org or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Iditarod-Historic-Trail-Alliance/

For more information about the Iditarod National Historic Trail, see

http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/content/ak/en/prog/nlcs/iditarod.html

The BLM manages more land – 256 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western States, including 75 million in Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, and cultural resources on the public lands.

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