Sharon Long was interviewed on November 4, 2021 by Karen Brewster in a conference room at the Office of History and Archeology, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, in the Robert B. Atwood Building in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. In this interview, Sharon talks about her role in the early legislative process for designation of the Iditarod Trail as a national historic trail. She discusses working for Senator Mike Gravel and negotiating with other senators, such as Senator Ted Stevens, Henry Jackson, and Frank Church, to gain support for the legislation. Sharon also talks about her other work on D-2 lands legislation, with the Federal State Land Use Planning Commission, and on public land issues under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).
Digital Asset Information
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Land use issue jobs early in her career
Working for Senator Mike Gravel on natural resource issues
Working on the Iditarod National Historic Trail designation as a member of Senator Gravel's staff
Getting the legislation through Congress
Public input on the legislation, and the detailed work behind the scenes
Figuring out the trail route to put on the map
Adding historic designation to the National Trails Act, and recommendation to include the Iditarod as a gold rush trail
The work of legislative staff, and reports on trail designation
Key legislative staff for Alaska's senators
Gravel's trip to Nome and meeting with Joe Redington and Leo Rasmussen about the Iditarod Trail
Serving on the Iditarod National Historic Trail advisory council and the D-2 Council on Alaska Lands
Issues addressed by the advisory council, including signage, easements, and identification of the trail route
Holding community meetings to gather information about historic uses and routes, and encourage local trail blazer groups
Working with the Bureau of Land Management as the trail administrator
Advisory council accomplishments and frustrations with lack of funding
Public's incorrect association of the Iditarod Historic trail designation with the Iditarod Dog Sled Race
Support from Senator Gravel and Senator Stevens for the historic trail designation
Building relationships with local groups, and partnering for advocacy
Advisory council's mission and membership, and connection to the national trails movement
Combining advisory council service with a job and raising a family
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KAREN BREWSTER: And this is Karen Brewster, and today is November 4, 2021, and I’m here with Sharon Long in Anchorage, Alaska, for the Iditarod National Historic Trail Project Jukebox project. So Sharon, thank you.
SHARON LONG: You’re welcome. Happy to be here.
KAREN BREWSTER: Great. So, before we get started on the trail, tell me a little bit about yourself and your background.
SHARON LONG: Oh, uh, well, how I came to be part of this project?
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and how you came to be in Alaska or how you came to be.
SHARON LONG: Oh. How I came to be in Alaska. Well, I was a difficult child, and I was sent here to live with some aunties. But that was a long time ago.
Um, no, I had been working at the Joint Federal-State Land Use Planning Commission, um, back in the early '70’s. And so, we became -- we were in the midst of, um, state land selections under the Statehood Act.
And then here came the Native Claims Settlement Act, and Section 17(d)(2) for, you know, federal withdrawals for lands, and so that’s how I became familiar with sort of this sector.
And so, having worked with the Federal-State Land Use Planning Commission, the Department of DNR (Department of Natural Resources), I ended up actually leaving after my work there. Put a pack on my back and went around the world with a girlfriend for a year and ended up back in Washington, DC, without enough money to get back to Alaska.
So I went into my senator’s office and applied for a job. I had worked on his original campaign. I was the student statewide campaign manager for Gravel’s campaign, and so he knew me from that.
And then -- and then we talked about my background with the resource planning team in the Federal-State Land Use Planning Commission, and I ended up working for him as one of the legislative assistants on natural resources, forestry, land claims. You know, natural resources issues.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. And what is your educational background that you ended up doing lands issues?
SHARON LONG: It just sort of grew through, uh, through my experience with, um, working in the legislature, working in -- Well, it was Department of Education, and then Department of Natural Resources.
I was a graphic artist and ended up being out on the ground with the resource planning team members during the Wild and Scenic Rivers studies.
And um, had lots of exposure to the legislation and political issues of the time. Worked on campaigns. Was in the mix of all of that.
I had gone to University of Alaska and Alaska Methodist University as a political science and English major, and uh, you know, just experience in a state that was becoming itself.
And got to grow up with some of those early issues. We’re a huge resource state, so land and resources was an appealing path to follow.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. Ok. Um, and so, what year did you start working for Gravel in Washington?
SHARON LONG: Uh, that would’ve been in 1976. Came off the world tour in the fall of 1976, went in there. Spent two years there.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. And remind me when Gravel was elected senator.
SHARON LONG: Oh, geez. KAREN BREWSTER: Do you remember? Or how long had he been in office when you started working there?
SHARON LONG: Well, this was his second -- He was elected in ’68, so -- They’re six-year terms, right? Fourteen. So he must’ve just been re-elected.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok, so yeah, so he wasn’t a new senator. SHARON LONG: He wasn’t brand new, but I mean -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. Ok. SHARON LONG: By the terms of the Senate, he wasn’t an oldie, either. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. Right. Ok.
Um, so what kinds of natural resources issues were you working on for him?
SHARON LONG: Um, we did an amendment. The National Forest Management Practices Act hadn’t been amended since the 1890’s, and we were trying to bring it up to the current century with forestry practices, because of, you know, our huge forests here.
And we amended mining laws. We amended forest management practices to advocate for western states.
Gravel routinely aligned himself with western states because we had the same, you know, issues with uh, well, federal overreach.
And uh, so yeah. Forestry, land claims. I spent a lot of time on Section 17 (d)(2) of the claims act and the D-2 withdrawals.
And then eventually came back to be director of the D-2 Council on Alaska Lands here (this is probably the Alaska Land Use Council, which was established by Title XII of Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980). They created that --
After I left Gravel’s office, I came back here to do that under, um -- I think that was a Senate -- I think it was a legislative committee to start, and then Governor Hammond -- it -- it moved to the governor’s office, and so I was working for Governor Hammond on the D-2 lands stuff.
But what other things did I work on for Gravel? Forestry, land claims. Didn’t do any of the oil -- or not much of the oil and gas stuff.
KAREN BREWSTER: The pipeline would’ve been somebody else?
SHARON LONG: Yes. And um, and, of course, the Iditarod. KAREN BREWSTER: Iditarod. SHARON LONG: The National Historic Trails Act came under that.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. Ok, so that’s a good lead-in to the National Historic Trails Act.
SHARON LONG: Yes. Which had been passed previously, I believe, and only had two designations in it. They had historic trails and recreation trails.
And I haven’t been able to scratch this memory enough to come up with the genesis of the idea for historic trails. Um, I don’t know if it was Gravel, if it was Stevens, if it was -- I don’t know whose idea that was. It may have been, um, Department of Interior, I don’t know.
But anyway, it was decided. Joe Redington was spearheading a campaign to get the trail recognized for its historic values.
And so, we wanted to amend the trails act to create a subsection for historic trails, in addition to scenic and recreation and include the Iditarod.
The first two to be included, the ones that were gonna be sort of the premier or inaugural trails were going to be the Oregon Trail and the Iditarod. Now there was another trail that came in the same time, and I think it’s the Mormon. KAREN BREWSTER: The Mormon Trail. SHARON LONG: The Mormon Trail. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
SHARON LONG: And I can’t remember, um, what the power structure was with Utah at the time. Let’s see, it would’ve been Orrin Hatch. You know, I can’t remember the senators there.
But um, but um -- so -- so that was -- that was the start. We needed to amend the trails act to create this new subsection of historic.
And the premiere trails to go in were going to be the Oregon Trail and the Iditarod.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. And so how did you go about doing that?
SHARON LONG: Uh, well, first I remember -- Well, I talked to Joe Redington, of course, and he had the history that he knew.
But then we did a Congressional Research Service piece on it, too. They did, I think, quite a comprehensive search. We found as much background as we could.
And you have the amendment drafted. And you shop the amendment around. You look at the political landscape and see who is in the leadership, the --
You know, Jimmy Carter had been elected, and the control in the House and the Senate were Democrats. And so, we had a good chance of moving it fairly quickly.
It was the 95th Congress. And so we drafted the amendment, and people with a higher pay grade than I knew the political landscape amongst the western senators, and did whatever magic they had to do to know that we’d have good sponsorship once it was introduced.
And we had, you know, Scoop Jackson sponsored it. And Frank Church sponsored it. And both senators from the state of Alaska sponsored it.
And some people might think, well, that’s a no-brainer, of course. But there was such vitriol between our two senators that, um -- You know, this was a good thing for Alaska. Everyone could see that.
So, the staffs were a little bit cagey in presenting, uh, presenting the strategy to the senators about getting this thing passed in one Congress.
And so, both senators had committed themselves so far in yes, this is a great idea. We didn’t want them to get into a fight over who was going to be the prime sponsor.
And so, um, it’s obvious that people with more seniority and more power should be the prime sponsors, and then, of course, both senators would -- senators from Alaska would co-sponsor it.
So -- so I guess the senators were groomed a little bit by their staffs. In the end, to make them both look good.
I mean, how would it have looked if there had been some kind of brouhaha amongst our senators over something as obviously good for the state as this?
So -- so we worked it. They introduced it. Both of them were sponsors, and um -- and I wasn’t there. I left to come back to Alaska to do the D-2 Council before it was passed.
Pat Pourchot was there, and um, saw it through.
Um, you know, Don Young -- when it went over to the House, I don’t think we had companion legislation over there. I think it was the Senate bill that carried it. Do you recall? Do you know that?
KAREN BREWSTER: No, I don’t.
SHARON LONG: No. Ok. I am assuming and stand to be corrected, but I assume, and Pat will know this better than I. I assume it went through.
And Don Young was on Interior. I think he’s been on Interior his whole life over there.
And so, I don’t think it was a problem in the House. Tip O’Neill was the Speaker. The House was controlled by the Dems, and yeah --
KAREN BREWSTER: It obviously passed. SHARON LONG: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Um.
SHARON LONG: And Jimmy Carter was the president. There’s no reason not to -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SHARON LONG: -- sign it.
KAREN BREWSTER: And Senator Church was from what state, do you remember? SHARON LONG: Senator Church was from Idaho. KAREN BREWSTER: Idaho.
SHARON LONG: And um, I don’t know if the Oregon Trail skirts the lower boundary of his, uh, state.
You know, there're maps all in the Interior. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SHARON LONG: Which people can refer to, that were drawn.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. 'Cause I’m wondering why -- well, Jackson was Washington. SHARON LONG: Jackson was Washington. I mean, he was a western senator. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
SHARON LONG: And was chair of now Interior and Insular Affairs.
And, you know who I think -- someone else you might talk to who I think was a staffer for Scoop Jackson was Greg Erickson. Who’s another Alaskan. I mean -- and he did energy issues, but he might remember some of this.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, ’cause I was thinking why Jackson and Church sponsored? But that’s because they were the more powerful senators?
SHARON LONG: They were the more powerful senators. They had chairs of significant -- I mean, Scoop was chair of the overall committee. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
SHARON LONG: And I’m assuming that Church must’ve been chair of a subcommittee that would’ve -- to which this would’ve been referred.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Um, well, Pat mentioned something about it being a stand-alone bill, initially, for the historic trail. Before it became an amen --
SHARON LONG: Part of the Trails Act?
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that the Iditarod Trail part, before it became part of Church’s legislation. Does that ring a bell to you?
SHARON LONG: That does not ring a bell to me. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
SHARON LONG: My recollection is that in order to get it to go, we needed to amend the Trails Act, create the historic designation, and put in the Oregon Trail and the Iditarod.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Um, and did you work with other people? Or did the senator’s office hear from other people besides Joe Redington?
Do you remember other people who were working with you?
SHARON LONG: You know, I don’t remember the other folks. Um, I spoke mostly with Joe.
Um, you know, I didn’t meet Leo (Rasmussen) until after we got on the council together.
Um, you know, I was just -- had my nose down, doing my little legislative work. Doing the research, you know, speaking to drafting about how the amendment would read, dealing with Interior about what the requirements might be. Knowing maps had to be drawn.
And you know, drawing the maps was an interesting exercise. Um, because you know, you’re in the midst of all this land selection going on. Native claims selection, federal withdrawals, state selections, and here comes this trail, which wasn’t on -- at the time, wasn’t on any of the state selection maps. You know, duh.
And um, so there was -- there were a lot of people protecting their territory. Terra firma territory. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SHARON LONG: As well as political territory.
Um, so it was another interesting resource adventure with the feds and the state and our indigenous people, and --
KAREN BREWSTER: So how did you get the trail marked on the map? How did you know where to put it?
SHARON LONG: Well, you talked to people. We talked to users. People had to, um -- Joe was, um -- Joe Redington was instrumental in that. They had to determine historic uses.
And that’s when all the attendant gold rush trails sort of became, um, apparent. It wasn’t just the serum race trail.
That this had history beyond the race, um, and um, so I assume it was Interior that was out there on the ground, trying to figure out historic uses. Certainly, a Senate committee’s not gonna go do that. Um, so.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, there was this Bureau of Recreation study done.
SHARON LONG: What year was that? KAREN BREWSTER: Um, da-da-da-da-da-da.
SHARON LONG: Recreation is different than the uses.
KAREN BREWSTER: No, but it was done under that. It was in ’70 -- yeah, here.
"The Iditarod Trail Seward to Nome Route and Other Alaskan Gold Rush Trails, April 1977. A cooperative study prepared by the Northwest Regional Office, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, under the authority of the National Trails System Act."
And that’s what Pat worked on. And that was to look at all the gold rush trails in Alaska to determine -- SHARON LONG: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: -- which, I think in the original act, it was just put in “gold rush trails.” SHARON LONG: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: And then, this report and this group looked at which gold rush trails and then recommended the Iditarod made the most sense. SHARON LONG: Sense, yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: You know, rather than the Chilkoot or --
SHARON LONG: So Pat was working on that then? KAREN BREWSTER: Then. And then he came to Gravel. SHARON LONG: After. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: After that.
SHARON LONG: So he came with some ground knowledge. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SHARON LONG: That I didn’t have.
I was, um, the legislative assistant for Gravel on these natural resource issues. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SHARON LONG: And then --
KAREN BREWSTER: But sort of simultaneously. Like ’76 -- SHARON LONG: So he had been working on those things? KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
SHARON LONG: And then he came -- When I left, he took my job in Gravel’s office. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. So, yeah. So you were doing the legislative DC end -- SHARON LONG: The legislative political stuff. KAREN BREWSTER: -- end while he was doing the research end. SHARON LONG: On the ground. Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Ok. So that’s why there might be some -- SHARON LONG: Yeah. Interesting.
KAREN BREWSTER: But that’s where the recommendation for the Iditarod to be the historic trail for Alaska came from.
SHARON LONG: So maybe the idea came from that study, that we need another designation? Being historic. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I --
SHARON LONG: Because it didn’t fit under recreational or scenic.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. Well, I know there was a national thing, that originally the Trails Act was scenic trails, and then they added historic on a national level. SHARON LONG: Scenic and recreational, wasn’t it?
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I can’t remember. But I know that national got -- I mean, historic got added later, nationally. SHARON LONG: Yes.
KAREN BREWSTER: And I think, if I understand it right, that in that, when historic trails were getting put in, it was put as a generic “gold rush trails in Alaska.” SHARON LONG: Hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: But it didn’t specify the Iditarod. And then that study is where they came up with the Iditarod specifically.
SHARON LONG: Now, that’s interesting because my recollection is that we had to have the historic designation. That that had to come into play for us to put that in because the Iditarod didn’t qualify under the other designations. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SHARON LONG: So. KAREN BREWSTER: Inter -- yeah.
SHARON LONG: So we’d have to go back to early hearings on the creation of the act. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SHARON LONG: Go back and get transcripts from that, and see what happened, so --
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. Well, this is -- that’s why oral history is very interesting. SHARON LONG: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: And it always, you know, they -- the documents and the oral history work together because, you know, talking to people like you, who were in the back room, doing that negotiating. SHARON LONG: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: Like, ok, what were the issues you were talking about? Who were you talking to? SHARON LONG: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: What was the push and pull? SHARON LONG: Oh, yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Especially this on the staff side. I think a lot of people don’t realize how much work legislative staff does in crafting all this.
SHARON LONG: Well, and it was fun to work with -- you know, Stevens’ staff and Gravel’s staff were very collegial. We worked a lot together. We’re Alaskans. We’re working for Alaska.
We know our bosses had different styles. Um, they may have had different aspirations, but the collegiality amongst the staffs, I found to be very, very helpful. And to the benefit of the state.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um, I was just going to ask something about that. Um, oh yeah, that, you know, as you say, the Iditarod Trail seems like such a small, little issue. But you were starting to work on it in ’76, you said.
SHARON LONG: In -- yes, when -- Well, I got there in ’76. I don’t know when, exactly, Joe Redington -- when I -- you know, when the legislative director assigned this.
It -- the idea came to the office somehow, and, you know, I’m just the staff person that, ok, this is your issue. We’re gonna get this designation. Gotta get the legislation drafted. Work it.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. And that it took a couple years?
SHARON LONG: It took a couple years. But I think it all happened within the 95th Congress. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Which is a couple-year Congress?
SHARON LONG: It’d be Public Law. So when would it? KAREN BREWSTER: It’s Public Law 95-something. SHARON LONG: Ok. So, yeah. It all happened. KAREN BREWSTER: Um, I think. SHARON LONG: Six-something.
KAREN BREWSTER: Public Law 95-625, 95th Congress. SHARON LONG: Ok. KAREN BREWSTER: November 10, 1978. Ooh, coming up on the anniversary. SHARON LONG: Yes, so that was --
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, it included the Iditarod National Historic Trail. So that’s the national act. And then it included the Iditarod in there, establishment of advisory councils. SHARON LONG: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: And the requirement that they do a trail management plan. Oh, here. I do have --
SHARON LONG: It says Public Law what? KAREN BREWSTER: 95-625. SHARON LONG: Um-hm. Ok.
KAREN BREWSTER: But here, wait. I have some other, uh, Public Law 90-543, October 2, 1968. SHARON LONG: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um, is the National -- N-S-T, National Trail System recommended to Congress that -- suitable for -- I think that might be --
SHARON LONG: Public Law 90-what? KAREN BREWSTER: 90-543.
SHARON LONG: Yeah, that’s a long time before. KAREN BREWSTER: That was 1968.
SHARON LONG: And so, was that the creation of the Trails Act? The original Trails Act? KAREN BREWSTER: Maybe. SHARON LONG: I think so.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. (reading under her breath) Recommend to Congress that suitable for national trail designation. Well, anyway, yeah, it is a bit of a convoluted history. Um.
SHARON LONG: We should find that CRS report. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SHARON LONG: Or people listening to this that are interested. KAREN BREWSTER: The Congressional Research --
SHARON LONG: There’s a Congressional Research Service report. Um.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I can see if I can find that. Huh. ’Cause I have -- I don’t know that I’ve heard that before. I know the one that the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation did, but that was different than -- SHARON LONG: Um-hm. What would’ve been done for Congress.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Um, so who was the legislative director for Gravel when you were hired? Who assigned you? SHARON LONG: Uh, Don Argetsinger. KAREN BREWSTER: How do you spell that? SHARON LONG: A-R-G-E-T-S-I-N-G-E-R. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
SHARON LONG: So, the legislative director at the time was Don Argetsinger. And he handled all Alaska legislative matters.
But there was a gentleman named Bill Hoffman, who, I guess they shared the legislative directorship. And Bill Hoffman did more of the national -- national work. The Law of the Sea stuff and United Nations. And other things that Gravel was interested in. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
SHARON LONG: And then, on Steven’s side, I believe it was Steve Silver who was, uh, the LA (legislative aide) over there. He has a lobbying firm in Washington, DC, now.
And I think Frank Ferguson must’ve been working for Don Young at the time.
KAREN BREWSTER: I recognize that name. SHARON LONG: He’s a DC lobbyist now also. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Um.
SHARON LONG: And you know who else might be great to speak to is John Katz. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SHARON LONG: Have you spoken with him? KAREN BREWSTER: No, but I know who he is. Was he the state’s DC guy at the time?
SHARON LONG: He was the state’s -- either that, or he was in Interior at the time and then became the state’s DC guy.
But John had been the legal counsel for the Federal-State Land Use Planning Commission when Joe Josephson and Esther Wunnicke -- in the era of Joe Josephson and Esther Wunnicke. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
SHARON LONG: And so, John was the, um, the legal mind through all of that. And then, I’m not sure where he went. Maybe he went to DNR (Department of Natural Resources) or something in the state, maybe. Was he Commissioner of DNR at one point? KAREN BREWSTER: I know --
SHARON LONG: I can’t remember. But he’s in -- he is in DC now. And he -- he lasted through many governors and ran the state office in DC.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, that’s how I know his name, is the state office in DC. SHARON LONG: Outstanding mind on these things.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Ok. You have mentioned that you and Senator Gravel and other staff traveled to Nome at some point.
SHARON LONG: I was not with the senator on that trip. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
SHARON LONG: Don Argetsinger was. And I know there was a meeting in Nome with, um, Senator Gravel and Joe Redington and Leo Rasmussen.
Don recalls that it was a very busy, completely packed restaurant. I suspect it was the Board of Trade. KAREN BREWSTER: Which is a bar.
SHARON LONG: Yes. That’s where a lot of, um, lot of work was done in Nome.
KAREN BREWSTER: And did Don describe what happened at that meeting or what -- ?
SHARON LONG: He assumes that it must have been a discussion about the Iditarod. But uh, he doesn’t remember particulars of the discussion.
KAREN BREWSTER: He just remembers they were there? That that’s where you had your meetings. SHARON LONG: They were there, and that Senator met with both Joe Redington and Leo Rasmussen.
KAREN BREWSTER: And did you have any interactions with Leo Rasmussen on your end? Did he --?
SHARON LONG: Not until we came to the council. Not that I remember. But then when we were appointed -- the Secretary of Interior appointed members to the -- the -- KAREN BREWSTER: Advisory council? SHARON LONG: The advisory council. And Leo was on that.
KAREN BREWSTER: So how did you get appointed to the advisory council?
SHARON LONG: Well, I suppose names were -- I don’t know. Secretary of Interior appointed me to that.
Uh, I had come back to -- by the time it passed, I had come back here. I suppose one or the other of the Senators put my name up to the Secretary, and that’s how it happened. I mean, I don’t know. KAREN BREWSTER: What were you --
SHARON LONG: I was asked if I would be willing to serve. And I was eager to serve on that.
KAREN BREWSTER: And what were you doing in -- ? You were in Anchorage by that point?
SHARON LONG: I was in Anchorage at that point. They created -- the legislature created -- KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, the D-2 -- SHARON LONG: A group called the D-2 Council on Alaska Lands.
So this Council on Alaska Lands was supposed to deal with all the issues surrounding land claims. State, federal, and Native, at the time. And uh --
KAREN BREWSTER: That was different than the Alaska Task Force?
SHARON LONG: Yeah, I didn’t work with the Alaska Task Force. What were they tasked with doing?
KAREN BREWSTER: I only think that was a Park Service thing. The Alaska Task Force. SHARON LONG: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: For D-2 -- It was D-2 lands stuff.
SHARON LONG: Yeah. That was the federal side. This was the state, sort of, answer to, you know, what are we going to do? How are we going to get our story out? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
SHARON LONG: The -- the sentiment from the governor’s office, from the leadership in the legislature at the time, was that they were sort of being, uh, steam-rolled by this -- this D-2 move.
Because, you know, the Native land claims and the state land claims were just rolling along. I think ANCSA was passed in ’72? I believe. KAREN BREWSTER: ’71.
SHARON LONG: And we became the state in ’59. And, you know, we didn’t have patent to hardly any of our lands. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
SHARON LONG: In fact, we hadn’t even finished all the selections. And um, so this was the -- this was the state’s official group to try and put forth the state’s voice in that.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. So you said you were eager to serve on the Iditarod Trail Advisory Council. SHARON LONG: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Why were you eager?
SHARON LONG: Oh, well, because I had worked on it. I had learned about all that history.
The characters involved with it were delightful. They had all that ground truth. You know, Dan Seavey and Joe Redington and, you know, Judy Bittner was on there, and she had all this history and knowledge about the state.
It was, you know, it was an exciting thing to work on. I thought it was important. It’s a part of the history that makes us unique.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. So do you remember some of the -- what you did on the council or the meetings you guys had?
SHARON LONG: Uh, we had meetings. They were hosted by BLM. Yeah, we met over at the -- there’s a facility over by Campbell Lake. Campbell Airstrip.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, now it’s the Campbell Science Center or something?
SHARON LONG: The Science Center, yeah. We met there. Boy, I’d have to pull up -- have to pull up notes or find old files to remember all that we did.
I know there was discussion about becoming a 501(c)(3). Um, so that must’ve been under the knowledge that the council was going to sunset. So there was talk about that.
And I believe Jon Buchholdt actually drafted language for us, which came before the council.
You know, the minutes of those must be over at BLM somewhere. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I’m sure. But it’s more, yeah, what you remember and experienced and the people and who did what.
SHARON LONG: Yeah. Well, we dealt with things like, uh, complying with the act. Signage. How was it gonna work? You know, and Joe Redington said, well, traditionally, we’ve used tripods. And how are we gonna get those constructed? How are we gonna make it uniform for the length of the trail?
And, of course, we talked about education and um, having a logo. There was a logo that was developed for the trail. Uniformity of, um, of signage was big.
And education. To try and get materials into, um, the schools. To educate children about the history.
Yeah, we were focused on history and spreading the knowledge of the trails and what it meant and how significant it was to Alaska.
KAREN BREWSTER: Do you remember any discussion about the land issues and the ownership and easements and all that?
SHARON LONG: Oh, yes. Big discussion about easements and um, and the fact that we understood that the Iditarod Trail had not been put on the maps that were being used for the state land claims.
And uh, and, you know, Joe Redington’s very familiar with the way it is, the way the trail went in the Valley (Matanuska-Susitna valley). And right now, I think it goes, you know, through a subdivision and up somebody’s driveway, and, you know, you can’t put signage there.
But um, I don’t think there was any consideration of the Iditarod when the original, uh, statehood claims were made. Or the selections.
So, yeah, easements and the fact that, you know, condemnation. You can’t acquire -- I don’t think you can acquire lands according to the act. At least, there was no money appropriated. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SHARON LONG: For it.
Um, it was mostly about identification. So -- And the act, I believe, accommodates the fact that it doesn’t have to be continuous. And it can be interrupted.
But nevertheless, you identify where the trail is, was, and its history is still relevant. Even though it’s paved, and it’s somebody’s driveway or basketball court now.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, or do they create alternate routes around it that -- SHARON LONG: Oh, they -- KAREN BREWSTER: To make a continuous trail, it may not always follow the exact historic route, but you still have the trail?
SHARON LONG: Right. When you still have the trail, uh, because people want to recreate on it. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
SHARON LONG: I mean, the history and the usability sort of part company in a couple of places.
KAREN BREWSTER: And that was ok?
SHARON LONG: That was ok. We weren’t going to give up the trail because it wasn’t continuous or because it was being contested because of someone’s land selections. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and it’s all --
SHARON LONG: The history still stood on its own.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Well, and I say, it’s all sort of a -- now people know the trail and where it goes. But at the time, it wasn’t all brushed out. It hadn’t been used in -- SHARON LONG: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: A hundred years, I don’t know. And so, how you knew where to put it.
And, you know, is -- a trail got designated in an act, but there’s no physical manifestation of it on the ground.
SHARON LONG: Ground. And that’s why you go out and talk to people who had used it, whose ancestors had used it, who had used it for fishing, hunting, serum. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm.
SHARON LONG: You had to go out and do those interviews and do that research. And, you know, the legislature didn’t have anything to do with that. But the studies that you’re talking about. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SHARON LONG: That Pat worked on certainly were doing that.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. So yeah, you didn’t go out and do any of that?
SHARON LONG: I was not brushing out any trail. I was brushing out political -- political brush.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um, and then on the advisory council -- SHARON LONG: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: -- did you guys go out into the communities? SHARON LONG: We did.
We held hearings. We were, um, we were in Nome, I believe. We were in -- oh, it was forty below in -- where was -- Judy and I were bunking together. It was forty below. It wasn’t -- boy, if I had a map, I’d tell you.
Yes, we did. We went out and uh, held hearings or uh, sort of community sessions. (under her breath) Where was that?
KAREN BREWSTER: Not McGrath? SHARON LONG: McGrath. I think it was McGrath. Um.
KAREN BREWSTER: I’m thinking where would it’ve been forty below. McGrath. SHARON LONG: Yes. Yes. I bought a new coat to go out there.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um, so what happened at those community meetings?
SHARON LONG: Well, people came and talked about the use of the trail.
Um, you know, we were in places that the race came through, and there was always some education to be done about we weren’t race people, we were historic people. And what did people know about how the trail had been used and marked and, uh, that sort of thing.
KAREN BREWSTER: And did communities come to your meetings? Did people come?
SHARON LONG: People came. I wonder if we’ve got pictures from any of those. Yeah, we --
I know we were out on the trail in places, meeting with communities to get feedback about historic uses.
KAREN BREWSTER: And were you trying to drum up local, um, groups to form? For, like --
SHARON LONG: You know, I don’t know if we were advocating for that. I think -- did Dan Seavey talk about that, that they wanted to get communities involved in working the trail?
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I mean, it was also in the comprehensive plan to have these advisory trail blazer groups.
SHARON LONG: Trail blazer groups throughout the trail. That’s ringing a bell. I’d forgotten about that.
So I guess we were drumming up support for those. So we were following the stipulations in the act.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that was in the comprehensive plan, so -- SHARON LONG: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um, so what year did you get on the council? Do you remember? SHARON LONG: The initial council, whenever it was -- KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, ’81 or 82? SHARON LONG: Whenever it was formed, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, ok.
SHARON LONG: And I was on through several administrations. I think I was appointed by three different -- three or four different Secretaries of Interior.
KAREN BREWSTER: And so, you were on until it sunsetted? Or do you --
SHARON LONG: No, I don’t think I was on until it sunsetted. I think I got busy doing other things and got off the council before it sunsetted.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Do you remember how the council worked with BLM? ’Cause BLM was the administrator.
SHARON LONG: Yes, BLM -- BLM was the administrator. We had BLM staff helping us, coordinating.
There was a recreation specialist. I know somebody that -- KAREN BREWSTER: Terry O’Sullivan? SHARON LONG: No. KAREN BREWSTER: Or -- oh no, he would -- Terry O’Sullivan and Dean Littlepage were the administrators. SHARON LONG: Yes.
And they were the bureaucrats. But there was a guy that was out on snowmachines for the BLM. I will get you that name if I can’t come up with it right now.
Uh, Jay -- there was a guy, and Pat Pourchot will probably remember this guy’s name. Um.
KAREN BREWSTER: He may have done some of that with him?
SHARON LONG: Yes. He’s the -- it was a recreation guy with BLM. And they were actually building shelter cabins and, um -- I can come up with that for you. KAREN BREWSTER: Lou Waller? SHARON LONG: No. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SHARON LONG: No. KAREN BREWSTER: That was one guy he mentioned. SHARON LONG: (looking at cell phone) Where’s my contacts? Let’s see if I can find them. KAREN BREWSTER: I’m thinking who else he --
SHARON LONG: What other names have you got there? KAREN BREWSTER: Those are -- that’s the only ones I have that relate to that. There’s another one, but it, I think that was a Park Service. SHARON LONG: No, there’s a --
KAREN BREWSTER: Larry Wilde. That was Park Service. SHARON LONG: No. This is -- Oh, man. I’ll come up with it. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SHARON LONG: And get it back to you.
And he would be excellent to talk to because he was sort of the guy that had to go out on the ground and actually do stuff. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
SHARON LONG: And Pat Pourchot will probably remember who it was. I’m going to have to go through my contacts. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SHARON LONG: 'Cause his wife just contacted me recently. And I’ll try and find it for you.
KAREN BREWSTER: And that was on the ground -- based here out of the -- ? SHARON LONG: He was a BLM recreation specialist. KAREN BREWSTER: Out of Anchorage? SHARON LONG: Out of Anchorage at the time. And they sent him all over the trail.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok, cool. Yeah, ’cause I know that Dan and Lee in Seward talked about, you know, getting that southern part of the trail. SHARON LONG: Marked? KAREN BREWSTER: Marked. SHARON LONG: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: And protected and all that. SHARON LONG: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: And um, working with Forest Service people down there. SHARON LONG: Down there, it would be Forest Service. So, you work with whatever agency the trail’s going through.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. And so, as an advisory council member, what was that like working with, you know, the federal land manager?
SHARON LONG: They were very accommodating. I mean, we had our marching orders. We had the statute. And they were doing the job.
And, you know, the -- I don’t think we had any funding that came with it, and so, they were the people that carried that. We used their facilities, and they were the implementers of the act.
KAREN BREWSTER: And with no money, BLM had money to throw at it?
SHARON LONG: BLM -- well, uh, the state -- I don’t think the state -- The state -- yeah, we had some travel money. It must have been -- it must have been BLM money that paid for, you know, the copying, the papers, the use of the facility when we traveled to McGrath or Nome or Seward.
Um, can’t remember who I turned my vouchers in to, but we were reimbursed for those things. Um, not for our time in any way. Um, it was volunteer, of course.
KAREN BREWSTER: Do you remember how often you guys met?
SHARON LONG: In the beginning, it was more often. It must have been quarterly. I don’t -- did Judy remember? KAREN BREWSTER: I didn’t ask that. SHARON LONG: Yeah. No, I don’t remember how often we met.
But, you know, we had subcommittees. I was -- I was working on the coming up with articles of incorporation for us to consider being a non-profit. And you know, being able to do things under that umbrella.
I suppose Joe and Dan were working on signage and marking the trail, having uniform markings on the trail.
Um, probably BLM graphic artists, uh, were coming up with ideas for the logo. The logo was different than the race. The historic trail logo was different than anything affiliated with the race. It’s a pretty little triangle.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. I was -- I kinda asked, been asking about where that logo came from and the idea for it.
SHARON LONG: It was developed through the advisory council.
KAREN BREWSTER: And um, do you know who worked on it or how it happened?
SHARON LONG: Well, we realized we had to have a logo. I had been a graphic artist at one point with Department of Natural Resources. And so, I suppose I was in on that discussion. But I think it would’ve been developed through the BLM.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, you mentioned subcommittees. So was there an education subcommittee? Do you remember? SHARON LONG: I don’t remember the subcommittees. KAREN BREWSTER: Other than --
SHARON LONG: Yeah, I know I was the -- there was a lot of talk -- there must have been a keen awareness about this sunset and if we were going to be re-enabled, um, so yes.
KAREN BREWSTER: So that’s what you remember? SHARON LONG: So I was working on the 501(c)(3). I had done that for a couple other organizations and so came with some language.
KAREN BREWSTER: But while you were there -- While you were there, it didn’t convert into a 501(c)(3) yet? SHARON LONG: It wasn’t officially converted while I was there. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SHARON LONG: But we started the work on that.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. When you got on the advisory council, were there specific goals you had in mind you wanted to see accomplished?
SHARON LONG: Well, just what was called out in the statute. I mean, we needed to establish the historical significance, get uniform markings, do the education component. Um, that was it.
KAREN BREWSTER: Do you feel -- serving on that council, do you feel like it succeeded or -- ?
SHARON LONG: Well, I’ve lost track of it since, um, since I got off of it, but I know the Iditarod is still -- You know, you mention the Iditarod when you’re outside the state, and people know it. Probably because of the -- of the race. Um, but -- but it’s known.
And so, we probably sort of piggybacked on the notoriety of the race and were able to flesh out the history and keep the history because of it.
What’s the motivation of the university to, um, to follow this? To do this project?
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, it comes from -- uh, it’s a project sponsored by the Iditarod Trail Alliance. SHARON LONG: Oh, the Allian -- which is -- KAREN BREWSTER: It's -- SHARON LONG: What has -- KAREN BREWSTER: What has -- SHARON LONG: What has come out of the -- KAREN BREWSTER: What it -- Yeah, what it is now.
And so, it’s just a reflection on the organization and the process and the trail itself, and yeah -- SHARON LONG: Its historic uses? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SHARON LONG: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: And, you know, so that’s one of my questions just is, for -- anybody who serves on a council or a committee, how it worked, what did you do, who did you do things with, and did things work or not work? You know, were there -- were there ob --
SHARON LONG: Well, it sounds like they did work, if there’s now an alliance that’s established without a sunset. And it’s a -- KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. SHARON LONG: I assume it’s a 501(c)(3). KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
SHARON LONG: Um, so they can do things to perpetuate the knowledge of the -- so yes, I guess I feel it’s successful because the Alliance emerged from it.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. Well, but also, the question is, you know, serving on the council at that time, do you have memories of there were issues or projects you wanted to see done that you couldn’t do, and there were obstacles or frustrations, whether --
SHARON LONG: There -- Money was always a question, and one of the things that we thought could be accomplished by creating a 501(c)(3) is then you could get donations to do some of the things that needed to be done.
The education component. Interpretive signage. Interpretive projects to, you know, get it out to the communities. Certainly, along the trail, but you know, maybe work to get an Iditarod component in curriculum of Alaska education. Things like that.
We weren’t going to get that money from the BLM. And so, the thought of the 501(c)(3) was that we would have that ability to do educational -- fundraising for education purposes.
KAREN BREWSTER: One thing I have heard, and also, I mean, I am guilty of it as well, is many people in the state think the Iditarod Trail is there because of the dog race, not because it was used before that historically by the miners. SHARON LONG: Hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: Did you have to deal with that misunderstanding?
SHARON LONG: Well, yeah, we knew that the race was the high profile -- um, its profile was the race. And so, of course, our mission was to broaden it and to make it more than that. Um, so we gotta keep trying to do that.
KAREN BREWSTER: I was going to say, do you feel like you accomplished that?
SHARON LONG: Well, I think we made inroads, yes. I mean, the serum -- the serum run is now taught, um, to children. They follow the race because that’s an exciting focal point.
What I know from classrooms that my children’s friends were in and now grandchildren are in, is they follow the race, but they study the historic significance of it. That it was the serum.
And I don’t know to what extent the gold rush history is taught during that time, but -- So yes, I do feel that there’s been progress made on that.
And who knows how long the race’ll run. It seems to be continuing. Staggering along. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SHARON LONG: Uh, despite some big challenges.
But no, the history of -- the history of that trail will prevail irrespective of a race, I think.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um, what was I just gonna ask? I just forgot. I had two questions, and now one of them went out of my head, but the one was back to working for Gravel. SHARON LONG: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: And you say, you know, you kind of groomed the senators, so to speak.
SHARON LONG: Well, we finessed the sponsorship.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, yes. Did you have to convince Gravel in any way about supporting the trail designation?
SHARON LONG: Not in any way. I mean, I think it was obvious to both senators. You have to speak to the legislative guys on Steven’s side, but it’s -- it’s obvious that it’s a good thing for Alaska. It’s something that should be done.
But we were always mindful of the vitriol between the two senators. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SHARON LONG: And so, we sort of kept, um, away from any discussion about, well, is the other guy in on this? It’s just the right thing to do.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. But I would think -- It sounds like the Iditarod Trail was an easy one to get the senator to agree to. That would certainly not be the case for all issues. SHARON LONG: Um.
KAREN BREWSTER: I mean, the staff sometimes has to convince a senator to support something? Or not?
SHARON LONG: Well, it’s the staff’s job to present all sides, um, of an issue. Where the threats are, where the advantages are. And let them decide if they want to blunt their sword on it. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
SHARON LONG: That’s not a question with the Iditarod Historic Trail. So yeah, I don’t think it’s the job of the staff to promote their own agenda. You know and understand where your senator comes from.
If there’s an issue that’s going to come before them, you bring as much information to it as you can, and you let them decide if they’re going to go out on point on it or not.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. And so the Iditarod Trail, there were no -- SHARON LONG: I don’t think there's -- KAREN BREWSTER: -- negatives?
SHARON LONG: I don’t think there was any negative. The only thing that as a staff person I might have perceived is, geez, if he thinks Stevens is going to be the prime sponsor on it, is he gonna drag his feet sponsoring it? We didn’t want that in any way to come into play. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
SHARON LONG: And, you know what, I don’t know if it was even ever stated overtly. It was just worked that way. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
SHARON LONG: That it was obvious that it was the right thing to do, and we wanted to avoid any edginess about it.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. And, yeah, the land ownership conveyance selection stuff wasn’t seen as a hindrance? At the time? SHARON LONG: Uh, as a threat -- KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. SHARON LONG: -- to creating the trail?
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, yeah, or an obstacle that was gonna be, uh, there so the trail designation would be harder to accomplish. SHARON LONG: I don’t think so. I think the history stands for its own. Stands on its own. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
SHARON LONG: And at um, you know, the office -- well, Ted Stevens’ office might have had land selection maps.
Ted Stevens was a very -- you know, he’d had experience at Interior. He was a very detail-oriented guy. He knew chapter and verse about the legislation he was dealing with.
Mike Gravel was a big-picture, conceptual guy. Go deal with the details. He was dyslexic and had trouble tracking and dealing with minutiae.
And so, um, I wasn’t aware that anyone was thinking about conflicts at the time relative to the historic trail. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
SHARON LONG: That the history stood for itself, and we needed to acknowledge it.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Oh, I know what my question was. On the advisory council, partnering with other groups. We mentioned a little bit the idea of trail blazers. SHARON LONG: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: Do you remember the council building those relationships? Either with trail blazers or other groups or agencies?
SHARON LONG: I think -- You know, I didn’t have the contacts, the on-ground contacts that a Seavey or a Redington had. Um, so I wasn’t active in that.
I mean, that was part of our charge, and part of what we did, so it was, you know, it was an administrative advocacy. And you go out into the communities and create interest, and, you know, you’re asking for volunteers to do things.
And um, so your question, though, wasn’t about that. It was about -- KAREN BREWSTER: Partner, if -- SHARON LONG: -- partnering with, like the Park Strip, the BLM -- or the Park Service, the BLM, are you asking about that?
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, yeah. Or any partnering, whether it was with agencies or local organizations or educators or, you know -- SHARON LONG: Uh. I just -- KAREN BREWSTER: To help with advocacy.
SHARON LONG: I remember a willingness on the part of almost everywhere we approached. Money was always a question. And that’s why we started thinking about this 501(c)(3) thing, but um, yeah. People were enthusiastic about it. KAREN BREWSTER: Good.
SHARON LONG: We didn’t have anybody say, oh no, get out of my face. We don’t want to deal with you. KAREN BREWSTER: Right. Um. SHARON LONG: That I remember.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. And that’s sort of the idea, too. Partnering brings money in. SHARON LONG: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: If there was any of that happening? That you remember.
Or joint projects you guys worked on. SHARON LONG: (whispered) Joint projects. (said aloud) Joint projects.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and also, there was this comprehensive plan. SHARON LONG: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: I don’t know if you remember that document and if that was guiding what you guys did.
SHARON LONG: I’m sure it was. I’m sure it was. I’m sure it was guiding the agendas, the discussions, the action items. But I’m not recalling any of the details of that.
KAREN BREWSTER: And Joe was president while you were -- ?
SHARON LONG: Oh, I don’t know. Did we have a chair or a president? We might have. KAREN BREWSTER: You did. I know that -- I know at the beginning, they did. SHARON LONG: It was probably Joe then. KAREN BREWSTER: Joe was the chair at the beginning. SHARON LONG: Ok. KAREN BREWSTER: Um.
SHARON LONG: And then Dan, maybe? KAREN BREWSTER: I don’t -- after that, I don’t -- I just have this -- because it’s from the comprehensive plan. It mentions Joe as the chair. SHARON LONG: Um-hm.
KAREN BREWSTER: And then just has all these names. And there was, you know, the Department of Interior rep, State of Alaska rep. you know.
SHARON LONG: And so, Judy was the State of Alaska rep. Right? KAREN BREWSTER: Uh, it started with Chip Dennerlein, and then she -- SHARON LONG: Oh, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: -- took over for him.
And you’re not listed on this initial 1981 list. SHARON LONG: Hm. Yeah, I was on the initial one.
KAREN BREWSTER: So you must’ve come after that. Um, well, what -- Edgar Kalland passed away. Maybe you got appointed to replace him.
SHARON LONG: Maybe. Was he a public member? KAREN BREWSTER: He was from Kaltag. SHARON LONG: I don’t remember. KAREN BREWSTER: You were a public member? He was an elder, Athabascan elder, and he died in April of ’81. So it could be.
SHARON LONG: So I must’ve come on then. KAREN BREWSTER: ’Cause you don’t remember him? SHARON LONG: Hm-um. KAREN BREWSTER: So maybe you came on to replace him?
This has (reading) Joe Redington, Clay Beal. SHARON LONG: Um-hm. KAREN BREWSTER: William Coghill, Floyd Sharrock? SHARON LONG: Sharrock? Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Chip Dennerlein. Ken Chase from Anvik. Ray Collins, McGrath. LeRoy Davie, Mat-Su Borough. Wilda Hudson, Municipality of Anchorage. Andy Edge, Nome. Jack Garrison, Big Lake. Shirley Heatwole? Anchorage. Edgar Kalland. Fitz -- Fritz Livesay, Anchorage. Michael Meehan, Seward. Roderic Perry, Chugiak. Clyde Peters, Galena. Rosemary Phillips, Nome. Dan Seavey, and Mary Shields from Fairbanks.
SHARON LONG: Was this a pre-group? KAREN BREWSTER: It’s -- it's what's --
SHARON LONG: I don’t think these were the, um, approved by the Secre -- KAREN BREWSTER: I don’t know. SHARON LONG: I don’t know. Those -- It’s not a familiar group to me.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Well, it’s what is listed in the 1981 comprehensive plan as who the council members were. So that’s interesting.
SHARON LONG: Who the council members were. KAREN BREWSTER: Um-hm. SHARON LONG: So I wonder if it was a group that preceded the approval? KAREN BREWSTER: I don’t know. So who do you remember? Do you remember?
SHARON LONG: Well, Dan and Joe and Judy and myself. I’d have to go back and look at -- 'cause I usually drew a table and wrote names.
Um, Jake was that guy’s name. I’m about to come up with -- KAREN BREWSTER: Jake Moore? SHARON LONG: No, I’m about to come out with the guy’s name -- KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SHARON LONG: -- that did the recreational stuff. Jake. What was his last name? I don’t know where that came from.
No, I don't -- you know what? I -- the brain’s going foggy on me on those -- KAREN BREWSTER: Those names. SHARON LONG: -- those initial people. I know the ones that I worked -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. SHARON LONG: -- closely with.
KAREN BREWSTER: Um, and then Leo, you said. SHARON LONG: Leo, yeah. And see, he’s not listed on there, either. KAREN BREWSTER: No, he wasn’t on the initial one. He came a little bit later. I can’t remember.
SHARON LONG: So I don’t know what happened to that. Maybe that initial one was until the nominations were made and approved?
KAREN BREWSTER: It says appointed for two-year terms. So maybe, yeah. I don’t know. SHARON LONG: Hm. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, maybe it didn’t --
SHARON LONG: How long ago are we talking about? KAREN BREWSTER: That was 1981. SHARON LONG: Huh. KAREN BREWSTER: And Judy didn’t come on until ’82. ’80 -- yeah.
SHARON LONG: So that must’ve been when I came on, ’cause she and I were in the same thing.
(under her breath) I’m not coming up with it. KAREN BREWSTER: Um, we’re getting close. SHARON LONG: Sorry. KAREN BREWSTER: That’s ok.
Um, anything else that you remember from -- or want to talk about?
SHARON LONG: No, nothing that pops up. It makes me think I should go in the basement and dig out the boxes of papers and see --
KAREN BREWSTER: You could put ’em in the archive. SHARON LONG: And see what, uh --
So I don’t know if agendas would be interesting to the archives or if BLM has those. KAREN BREWSTER: Um, I don’t know. This is a question for Judy. What all they -- SHARON LONG: Yeah. What would be pertinent.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. Um, oh. I know, do you remember any connection with the -- serving on the advisory council being connected to the national trails movement?
SHARON LONG: Well, just that there was a, uh -- that there’s a National Historic Trails designation, and there were advisory boards for the various sections.
And we were completely separate. We didn’t interact at all with any of the other advisory boards. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
SHARON LONG: The only connection was through the BLM. That was the only national connection.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. ’Cause there were National Scenic Trail and National Historic Trail conferences. You don’t -- SHARON LONG: And I didn’t go to any. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok.
SHARON LONG: Judy may have gone to some of those. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Judy and Leo did. SHARON LONG: Yeah. Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: But I didn’t know if you might’ve had any connection. SHARON LONG: Yeah, no, I didn’t go --to -- I didn't go to the -- And I’m sure we chose who we wanted to go to those, and it was obvious that Judy would go.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. And, so, during the time you were on the council, when you started you were on the D-2 Lands Council. And then did --
SHARON LONG: I may -- By then, I was not. I was just a private citizen then. I was running my husband’s medical corporation. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Ok. SHARON LONG: In the private sector.
KAREN BREWSTER: So I was wondering how you juggled jobs and the council.
SHARON LONG: No, I was -- yeah. No, I had been on the D-2 Council on Alaska Lands, and then, I got married and started to raise a family and run my husband’s medical corporation, so -- KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. So you had --
SHARON LONG: I was serving as a individual.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I mean, how much time did being on the council take up, anyway?
SHARON LONG: It took -- Well, if you engaged and, you know, talking to lawyers about getting, um, articles of incorporation drafted, and going to the meetings and being prepared for it. I mean, it took time. It was a priority.
KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. Yeah, and you didn’t work on any of the land conveyance easements, like working with Native corporations or private land owners? SHARON LONG: No. KAREN BREWSTER: On the portion that crossed their lands?
SHARON LONG: No, I mean, I think that was done with maps in some office somewhere with the stakeholders there, advocating for whatever they wanted. But I wasn’t in on any of that.
KAREN BREWSTER: Did the council have to vote and approve on any of those things?
SHARON LONG: No. That was not within their authority. I mean, that was a fight with, um, with all the land selection entities. With the state, the feds, and um, the Native groups that were making their claims.
That was totally out of our purview. We just identified, obviously, where there was a conflict, and someone else had to deal with it. We didn’t advocate one way or the other.
I mean, we advocated for the trail to be acknowledged, for it to be marked. If someone wanted to donate their land, we would’ve been happy to have, you know, worked on that, but it wasn’t our authority. KAREN BREWSTER: Ok. SHARON LONG: Ok.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, well, thank you. SHARON LONG: Well, thank you.
KAREN BREWSTER: Is there anything else?
SHARON LONG: I’m so glad you’re doing this. And I’ll go dig in the papers. I’ve been trying to downsize recently, so they may have been tossed out, but I might find some gems in there.
KAREN BREWSTER: Great. Ok. SHARON LONG: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Thank you.