Long before Hobo Jim, or even the late Joe Redington Sr., (commonly referred to as the Father of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race) had even heard of the Iditarod Trail, it was a significant part of Alaska's history, significant enough to receive the honor of being named one of sixteen National Millennium Trails throughout the United States of America in 1999.
The Iditarod National Millennium Trail (INMT) dates back more than 5,000 years and some archeologists speculate that indigenous people, for trade and to follow their subsistence life styles have used the trail for the past 15,000 years. There are hundreds of sites along the INMT that are prehistoric, ice age, early historic villages, campsites, cemeteries and traditional gathering places.
The Trail's history and culture is considered a unique Alaskan Jewel, according to Ron Arnold, Director of the INMT, Inc. "Our mission is to connect people, their land, their history and their culture by promoting the independence to travel safely and communicate anywhere along the Iditarod National Millennium Trail, while preserving and honoring its past and imagining its future," Ron Arnold told the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce last week.
The INMT, Inc. is organizing a celebration of the Trail's history in the winter of 2004. "We're going to celebrate this trail by taking it from Seward to Nome and doing a freight sled expedition following as close as possible to the original trail. Dick Blakeslee is actually building eight traditionally designed freight sleds for this event, and we hope we have a great cross section of individuals participating in this event, we'll even have a sled to accommodate someone with disabilities," said Arnold. The celebration run will be scheduled either prior to or following the regular Iditarod Dog Sled Race.
The INMT, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization, has been given 600 some Iditarod "Caches" or envelopes that were carried by mushers who finished the 1991 race which was dedicated to the troops of Desert Storm. These Iditarod musher autographed collector Caches were matted and framed for the INMT, Inc. by Princess Tours and are being given to supporters for a $30 contribution. Anyone who sponsors a sled for the upcoming celebration in 2004 will receive 25 of the Caches. For more information visit the INMT website at www.iditarodnationalmillenniumtrail.com or call 260-9515.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.