BETHEL, Alaska — Federal officials are trying to find ways to lessen the possible impact of the proposed Donlin Gold mine on the historic Iditarod Trail.
Dog musher Dan Seavey said the project’s route for a natural gas pipeline that runs north of the Alaska Range through Jones Pass would interfere with the trail route. Seavey voiced his concerns with the proposed mine project at a meeting held by the Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday, KYUK-AM reported (http://bit.ly/2dYmamE ).
“I don’t see any mitigation. I see selecting an alternate to the historic trail,” said Seavey, who helped get the trail its National Historic Trail designation.
Enric Fernadez, an environmental coordinator for Donlin Gold, said the proposed gas line route runs along the Iditarod Trail because of the geography of the region.
“It offers the best geo-technical conditions to place a pipeline, which is coincidentally the reason why the Iditarod Trail is there,” Fernadez said.
Donlin is a major sponsor of the Iditarod.
The Army Corps’ Sheila Newman said she’s confident a solution can be found for the project and praised Seavey for talking about his concerns.
Others at the Tuesday meeting said the pipeline should benefit residents in surrounding villages and voiced concerns that it would open up remote areas to outside hunters.
“They will be coming in from all over the world. It is a whole lot cheaper to drive than to fly,” said David Gililak Sr. “I mean we’ll have a lot of traffic in that area, eventually to the point where the state will have to call it a road.”
The Army Corps plans to hold another meeting on the matter by early November.
Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org