Emily Schwing, NNN - Northwest News Network
Iditarod is far more than dog racing. Small Alaska communities celebrate the arrival of longer days and the people in the community. McGrath hosts an auction fundraiser each year when the Iditarod rolls through to raise money for a local organization and a family in need. KNOM’s Emily Schwing stopped into the bar Tuesday night to get a first hand look at what the auction is all about. Download Audio
Long before the race ever starts, mushers pack their drop bags with gear and food to so that they have options for where and when to take their 24-hour mandatory rest along the Iditarod Trail. This year, some of them tried something new, while others are doing what they know. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes clear who has the winning strategy now that dog teams are starting to come off their long rest.
Iditarod dog teams have travelled more than 300 miles down the trail in the last three days. Defending champion Dallas Seavey. Says they’ve reached a turning point in the race.
Mushers have reached a point in the Iditarod where rest becomes strategic. Overnight, a number of them opted to push their teams further down the trail, while others chose to hunker down for a mandatory 24-hour rest. The majority of mushers who arrived first into McGrath, didn’t stay long, but some of their decisions earlier in the race, might offer clues about their race plans.
The village of Nikolai was bustling all day as dog teams pulled in and out of the sixth checkpoint on the Iditarod trail. After teams have passed over some of the roughest trail, the race reaches a turning point. From here, mushers will evaluate their dogs as they try to decide how best to execute a their race plans. Download Audio
In the first couple days of racing, Iditarod dog teams are running along some of the roughest parts of trail reported on this year’s Iditarod. But the actual trail may not be the challenge. A handful of mushers are sick and others are making an effort to keep their dogs race ready. Listen Now
It was busy overnight in Skwentna as teams passed through the second checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail and made their way into the Alaska Range. Teams are shaking out the kinks early as they settle into race mode.
Red, white and blue flags flew high at this year’s Iditarod start line, but they weren’t the flags one might expect at an American race. These flags bear the Scandinavian cross and they were flown by fans who came out to cheer on more than ten percent of the race field. There are more Scandinavians in this year’s Iditarod than ever before. Iditarod - Day 1
The 44th annual Iditarod trail sled dog race gets underway on Sunday, although the festive ceremonial start in Anchorage happens tomorrow. This is one of the largest fields in the race's history at 85 mushers signed up to start. KNOM News Director Emily Schwing and Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes will be reporting from the trail. Before they take off, let's find out who they're keeping an eye on and what to watch out for along the trail. Download Audio
The warm winter has extended far north of Anchorage as well. The spring season for bearded seals, or ugruk, has come nearly two months early for some hunters in Western Alaska. Warm weather makes the hunt a little easier, but locals are concerned about precarious sea ice and unpredictable weather. Download Audio
One of the warmest winters on record in Alaska means the spring season for bearded seals, or ugruk , has come nearly two months early for some hunters in Western Alaska. Warm weather makes the hunt a little easier, but locals are concerned about precarious sea ice and unpredictable weather.
A team of biologists left for Saint Lawrence Island on Wednesday to consult with local walrus hunters in Savoonga and Gambell. Jim MacCracken heads the Alaska program for marine mammals management with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He says biologists are eager to collect traditional knowledge from hunters and community members. Download Audio
For the first time, scientists have documented the prevalence of two biotoxins in Alaska’s marine mammal population above the Arctic Circle. That’s according to a new study out Thursday in the Journal Harmful Algae. But it’s not clear if algal toxins have always existed in the Arctic, because scientist never looked before now. Download Audio
The Coast Guard Cutter Sherman had to return to Dutch Harbor a few days early this week. The cutter and its crew were forced to turn back from a regular patrol in the Bering Sea when one of the ship’s diesel engines malfunctioned.
Billions of dollars worth of drilling equipment and support vessels operated by Royal Dutch Shell are sitting out in the Bay in front of Dutch Harbor this week. The company has plans to take most of that equipment north for exploratory drilling operations later this summer. Many of the local businesses benefit from the oil giant’s presence. Download Audio
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Letter of Authorization on Tuesday to Shell. The authorization allows the oil company to “take small numbers of Polar bears and Pacific walrus incidental to activities occurring during its ‘Outer Continental Shelf 2015’ exploration drilling program in the Chukchi Sea” this summer. Download Audio
The Transocean Polar Pioneer, a drill rig contracted by Royal Dutch Shell, has arrived in Dutch Harbor. The oil company plans to use the port as a hub this summer as part of their exploratory Arctic drilling effort. There’s very little opposition in the tiny Alaskan town in comparison to that in Seattle, where some environmental activists went so far as to chain themselves to one of Shell’s Arctic drilling support vessels last month. Download Audio: