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Nome & the Bering Sea Coast March 2016

Nome lies approximately 2 degrees south of the Arctic Circle, and while greatly diminished from its peak of 20,000 during the gold rush days at the turn of the 20th century, it was still the largest town in the northern half of Alaska in 1924 when Knud Rassmussen arrived with a population of 455 Alaska Natives and 975 settlers of European descent. 

From November to July, the port on the southern shore of the Seward Peninsula of the Bering Sea was icebound and inaccessible by steamship.

The only link to the rest of the world during the winter was the Iditarod Trail, which ran 938 miles (1,510 km) from the port of Seward in the south, across several mountain ranges and the vast Alaska Interior before reaching Nome. The primary source of mail and needed supplies in 1924 was the dog sled; but within a decade bush pilots would become the dominant method of transportation during the winter months.

Mail from the "Outside" (outside the Alaska Territory) was transported 420 miles (680 km) by train from the icefree port of Seward to Nenana, and then was transported the 674 miles (1,085 km) from Nenana to Nome by dog sled, which normally took 25 days

Dogsledding is still important to the town and economy of Nome, as the largest event every year in town, is the finish of the 1,000 mile dog sled race, the Iditarod.

In March of 2016, Jason Matthews spent ten days in Nome. Following the Iditarod, visiting sled dog kennels in the area, snowmobiling the coast and visiting nearby villages. He will be returning again in 2017, to futher explore the region and gather more information for the project.

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