FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Officials of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race were out checking on the condition of the trail this week after hearing reports that some parts were in rough shape.
''The short story is, I've seen it better and I've seen it much worse,'' said race manager Jack Niggemyer said. ''We've got plenty of stuff to work with.''
Iditarod officials said this week that Nenana had been considered as a possible ''Plan C'' starting point for the 1,100-mile race that normally goes from Anchorage to Nome.
However, after checking out the trail last weekend, it doesn't appear that a switch to ''Plan C'' -- a start somewhere in the Interior due to lack of snow in Southcentral Alaska -- will be needed for the scheduled March 3 start in Anchorage.
''Every year we have a 'Plan B' scenario well developed in our minds and on paper,'' Iditarod executive director Stan Hooley said Tuesday afternoon. ''This year we were particularly concerned about the Dalzell Gorge area and had begun some talk about a 'What if Plan C' for Nenana.
''Once we checked out the trail, we found that we're in as good a shape as half the years we've gone through there (Dalzell Gorge),'' Hooley added.
''There were some concerns about the trail, especially around Rohn, but we got in there and took a look last weekend and it will be OK,'' Niggemyer said Tuesday afternoon as he waited for a plane in Anchorage that would take him out to Unalakleet so he could examine that portion of the trail.
While the Interior has experienced a severe snow shortage this winter, Niggemyer said there's still enough to make decent trail to the coast and he also noted that there's still more than a month until the Iditarod start. Things could change drastically by then.
''The (Farewell) Burn is pretty barren, but it often is,'' Niggemyer said. ''The Interior is below average, but once you hit the coast (Norton Sound) it's reportedly pretty good.''
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