Nonprofit Highlight: Iditarod Trail Blazers

The Iditarod Trail Blazers was originally conceived back in the late ’70s then became a 501c3 nonprofit in 1982.  Dan Seavey, along with Lee Poleski, Bill Hightower, and a bunch of the teachers, created the organization to shine a spotlight on the history behind the Iditarod Trail and reclaim the route leading from Seward.  The Trail Blazers oversees the location, construction, maintenance, and promotion of the Iditarod National Historic Trail from Seward to Girdwood.

The real story behind the trail reaches far before the Iditarod when Alfred Lowell, son of Mary Lowell, ran the mail route from Seward to Hope and Sunrise’s mining districts. Because of this rich history ingrained into the iconic Iditarod, the Trail Blazers’ founders realized that they needed to keep this history alive within the Seward area.

The Trail Blazers have intended to highlight the history and recreate the Iditarod route out of Seward leading north. They have a long list of accomplishments to their credit—Dan calls it the “Brag List”.  In addition to restoring the trail from Nash Road northward to Bear Lake, the Trail Blazers built the bike/walking path along Seward’s beautiful waterfront, complete with bridges designed by Fred Moore. At the trail’s beginning, sculptures of the prospector and his dog remind visitors of the eras before.  The Trail Blazers published a walking brochure, “Walk the First Mile of the Historic Iditarod Trail,” you can download the brochure HERE. The Trail Blazers have a long list of future projects as well. This summer, volunteers will work to create better parking at the Bear Lake and Nash Road trailheads. Also, they hope to connect the Bear Lake / Troop Lake segment to the Mile 12 segment going northwards.

According to Dan, the Trail Blazers are 100 members strong, but they are always looking for more supporters and volunteers willing “to get a few devil’s club thorns in their hands.”
If you are interested in getting some devils club thorns in your hands, join the Trail Blazers by calling Linda Sewell at 224-3581.

Highlight by Marc Swanson, SCF Advisor