ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — The Native Village of Shaktoolik is being recognized for its resilience and adaptability during the 2020 Iditarod race.
The Iditarod Official Finisher’s Club voted to award Shaktoolik the Golden Clipboard Award after the community quickly worked to move the Shaktoolik checkpoint to prevent the potential exposure of COVID-19 to residents.
After Shaktoolik — the 19th checkpoint along the northern route of the Iditarod trail — comes a difficult trail over Norton Sound, much of which is on sea ice and exposed to frequent and brutal wind.
Just two days before mushers were expected to arrive at the checkpoint, out of caution and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control to prevent the spread of coronavirus, community leaders and race officials began work to move it from within Shaktoolik to an old building just outside the village in Old Shaktoolik.
The alternate location was equipped with everything mushers and their teams would need, including heat, straw bedding for the dogs, and the food drop bags shipped ahead by mushers.
Iditarod Race Director and Marshal Mark Nordman said in a statement that while all of the checkpoint communities along the trail stepped up their efforts this year, Shaktoolik went far above and beyond.
“The IOFC vote shows that the mushers appreciated Shaktoolik’s efforts to go above and beyond for the race teams. Our teams and volunteers will be forever grateful," Nordman said.
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