State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources,
Division of Mining, Land & Water, Iditarod Trail Easements
Quarterly Report: January to March, 2007
Mapping of the Iditarod Historic Trail, Iditarod Race Trail and Iron Dog routes
Ben Hagedorn and Lesli Schick are in the process of identifying all known routes, existing
easements, right-of-ways, permits, private parcels,
third party interests and pre-existing data sets from
Seward to Nome on State land. Only the portion of
the trail from Wasilla to Finger Lake has been
surveyed to standard. Very preliminary maps have
been completed that depict the historic trail, RS-
2477 Routes, 1994 and 2006 Iron Dog routes and
portions of the 2006 and 2007 Iditarod Race route.
Work is continuing on these maps and specific
ownership and easement questions. A progress
update was presented by Easement Unit Manager
Sam Means to Jim Palin of the Iditarod Trail
Committee (ITC) and the Iditarod National Historic
Trail, Inc board in February. Future meetings will be
scheduled in April/May with the help of Jim Palin to
present the preliminary maps to the ITC members
and the Iron Dog.
Above: Preliminary map of Cripple to Sulatna Crossing
2007 Iditarod Press Conference
Acting Deputy Director Rick Thompson provided an update on the establishment of the
Iditarod Trail easement positions and history of the project for the 2007 Iditarod Press
Conference. Cliff Larson, Lesli Schick and
Ben Hagedorn presented the preliminary
trail maps, and answered questions about
the maps, history of the trail and current
work by the State of Alaska to secure
easements through State lands for the
historic and race trails. Additional
information was requested by reporter John
Little, and other reporters including an
Above: Preliminary map of Skwentna to Onestone Lake
associated press reporter from New York.
Iditarod Trail Breakers
Cliff Larson, Ben Hagedorn and Lesli Schick met with the trail breakers in January and
provided preliminary maps on the Willow to Rainy Pass portion of the Iditarod Race Trail.
GPS equipment was provided by the State to the trail breakers in March to map the 2007
southern route. The GPS is scheduled to be returned and downloaded the first week of
The McGrath Trailblazers have applied for an easement to construct and maintain two
emergency safety cabins along the Innoko River at Carlson Crossing and the North Fork
Crossing. A location was received from Steve Graham of McGrath in February for the
North Fork Crossing Cabin, and work is progressing towards finalizing an early entry
authorization. The Carlson Crossing Cabin site will be located away from the Innoko
River to avoid management concerns expressed by the trailblazers. A suggested name
for the cabin is the Richard Strick Jr. Memorial Cabin. A meeting with the McGrath
Trailblazers, in conjunction with the McGrath meeting on the preliminary maps of the trail
routes in April, will discuss the new location information for the Carlson Crossing Cabin
and any additional questions on the North Fork Cabin site.
Iron Dog reroute along the Shell Hills Trail
The Iron Dog route crosses multiple private parcels in a small section of the Shell Hills
area. An alternate alignment has been proposed by DNR to avoid the private land
without impacting the Iditarod Race Trail.
Maps were provided to lodges in the
Skwentna/Shell Lake area that showed
the proposed Shell Hills reroute. Cliff
Larson met with a trapper from the Owl
Creek area to discuss his concerns for the
proximity of the trail to his trap lines.
A meeting with the Land Sales division
removed one State parcel from over the
counter sale to complete the reroute of
the Shell Hills Trail. The trail reroute will
provide new access to State of Alaska lots Above: Shell Hills Trail reroute, March 2007.
for sale near Shell Hills.
Iditarod 2007 – Restart
Cliff Larson, Ben Hagedorn and Lesli Schick attended the 2007 restart, traveling from
Willow to Yentna Station.
Reconnaissance of Iditarod Trail: Willow to Puntilla Lake
The 2007 Iditarod Race route from Deshka
Landing to Puntilla Lake was mapped in March
using both recreation and resource grade GPS’s
by Cliff Larson, Ben Hagedorn and Lesli Schick.
Left: Cliff Larson surveying for the Iditarod Trail survey monument at
Finger Lake, March 2007.
The Shell Hills Trail reroute mentioned above was
traversed to verify that the alignment would function for
both the Iron Dog and local residents.
Safety concerns, trail location and conditions were
assessed from Finger Lake to Rainy Pass. This current
evaluation will assist in any future land use permits
requested by the Iditarod Trail Committee for trail work
near the Happy River and Round Mountain.
The FAA web cam site and airstrip at Puntilla Lake were
inspected to determine if the locations are having an
effect on the race route or the historic alignment of the
Above: Cliff Larson at the third step to the
Happy River, March 2007.
The current condition of the Old Skwentna
Roadhouse and Puntilla’s Cabin on Squaw
Creek were updated with the State Historic
Preservation Officer and the Office of History &
Archeology in Anchorage. Additional historic
information was added to the Alaska Heritage
Resource Survey database for Anderson’s
Rainy Pass Roadhouse and Rainy Pass
Above: Current photograph of the Old Skwentna Roadhouse
Pending State Conveyance
Cliff Larson worked with Realty Services on a pending conveyance from the Bureau of
Land Management. A question arose whether previous conveyances contained a
reservation or a right-of-way for the Iditarod National Historic Trail.