National Wildlife Refuge
|40 Tonzona Avenue
P.O. Box 69
McGrath, AK 99627
Phone Number: 907-524-3251
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|The Innoko River is the heart of this National Wildlife Refuge|
Continued . . . The Athabaskan people have lived along the Innoko and Iditarod rivers for centuries, in such villages as Dishkaket, Dementi, Holikachuk, and Old Shageluk. They used a variety of seasonal campsites, depending upon the resources being harvested. As hunters and gatherers, their very survival depended on the harvest of plants, animals and fish.
In the early 1900's, the discovery of gold on the tributaries of the Innoko and Iditarod rivers brought prospectors and settlements into the area. Following established traditional travel routes, a winter overland supply trail was established to bring mail and supplies to these "instant" towns. This winter trail became known as the Iditarod Trail, and is now a designated National Historical Trail which goes through the refuge. Many of these supply towns and roadhouses now add historical and cultural appeal to the refuge.
The trail now used by the Iditarod sled dog race goes just south of the refuge boundary in odd years and north of the refuge boundary in even years.
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