Drew Harrington, a strong trail advocate for Interior trails, passed away in late October.
For those wanting to honor Drew’s memory, his wife Molly Yazwinski encourages people to make donations to local trails or outdoors groups. A list of possible groups is below.
Drew was a tireless supporter of trails and human-powered trail races in Interior Alaska. He was one of the state’s top endurance athletes, competing in many ski and trail running races in and out of Alaska. In an email to friends and colleagues, friend Bobby Gillis described many of Drew’s accomplishments including:
- Served as director of the Interior Alaska Northern Trails Running Series.
- Helped start and run the Tanana River Challenge―a multi-sport winter trail race on the Tanana River and Rosie Creek trail system.
- Helped start and run the Angel Creek 50, the Interior’s premier ultra-marathon trail running race held in the Chena River State Recreation Area.
- Regularly groomed the Rosie Creek trail system throughout the winter for local skiers, fatbikers, runners, dog walkers, mushers, and saunterers.
- Often organized work parties in the summer and fall to brush miles of trail, especially in the Rosie Creek area and the Chena River State Recreation Area.
Drew also donated his own time and materials for restoration of the Chena Dome Trail shelter on the Chena Dome Trail in the Chena River State Recreation area, Gillis wrote. Over two summers, Drew recruited friends to hike materials several miles into the non-motorized area. Together they repaired or replaced the wood stove, floor, exterior walls, cook shelf, and benches. They finished it off with a new coat of paint and an additional rainwater catchment system for clean drinking water.
Drew worked at the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. His colleagues there have worked with the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation to have the Chena Dome Trail shelter officially renamed the Drew Harrington Trail Shelter. A signs will be placed on and in the shelter, honoring his memory.
Drew died at the age of 40 after a six-year-long battle with brain cancer. His passing was too soon, but it is with some comfort to know that he stayed active. Just this summer he completed the AlaskAcross wilderness race in the Sawtooth Mountains north of Fairbanks and hiked the 60-mile Circle-Fairbanks Historic Trail.
Possible Groups to Donate To in Honor of Drew
- The ASPA grooms skijoring trails at a number of places around Fairbanks, as well as the walking trails around Creamer’s Wildlife Refuge.
- Donations: Go to the main page and scroll down to the Trail Donation section.
- The ADMA maintains and grooms an extensive trail system between Farmer’s Loop and College roads.
- Donations: On the main page, look under “Passes and Sponsorships.” You can either Donate or buy a Membership/Trail Pass
University of Alaska Fairbanks
- The university maintains and grooms an extensive trail system on its campus. The University Trails Club assists with the trails.
- UA Donations: go to the UA Foundation (Designation > Other > then type in “UAF X Country Ski Trail Maintenance Fund #21256”)
- University Trails Club donations: On the main page click on Membership
- The NSCF maintains and grooms the trails at Birch Hill Recreation Area.
- Donations: On the main page click on the blue “Donate to the Birch Hill Trail Fund” button or go to Trails > Donate
- Volunteers maintain and groom this trail system near Pearl Creek Elementary School. The trails here tie into the UAF system through the Skarland Trail.
- Donations: Make check out to “Pearl Creek Community Park Fund” and send it to Tako Raynolds, 1819 Muskox Trail, Fairbanks, AK 99709-6626.
- Employees of this store maintain and groom a classic-only ski trail system that starts from the store.
- Donations: Use the donation bucket in the store or pay online.
- A group dedicated to developing, maintaining and promoting a year-round trails and parks system for the greater Fairbanks area and beyond.
- Donation: Send an email to IATPFoundation@gmail.com
- While not specifically focused on trails, the IALT understands that trails are integral to connecting people to land and many of its projects have preserved trails and trailheads.
- Donation: On the main page go to Get Involved > Donate.
- This group is based in Anchorage, but it advocates for trails across the state.
- Donate: On its home page click on the blue Donate button.
Another way to honor Drew is to volunteer for races he cared about:
Running Club North’s Northern Trails Running Series
Below are some pictures of Drew while he was co-directing the 2016 Angel Creek 50 (and one from 2015).