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Good places to watch the Iditarod begin

Iditarod fans have an array of spots where they can watch the 62 race teams make their way across Anchorage on Saturday morning. One of the best is at the end, on Campbell Tract in Far North Bicentennial Park.

There's parking at the BLM Science Center, 5600 Science Center Drive off Elmore Road, for about 500 vehicles as well as shuttle buses to Kasuum Elementary (about 100 spots) and Abbott Loop Community Park (75 spots).

"It would be fun to see 2,000 to 3,000 viewers as we have a mile of groomed trail along the airstrip prepared for viewing opportunities adjacent to the sled dog trails," said Doug Ballou, resources group manager at the Bureau of Land Management's Anchorage Field Office.

After parking, spectators can follow wooded winter trails to viewing areas or use a shuttle to sample different viewing areas. School buses will run a loop route between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

With the ceremonial start beginning at 10 a.m. downtown, you'll have plenty of time to park and get to viewing areas before dog teams start arriving at around 11 a.m.

"We have put a great deal of effort into preparing the terminus site to accommodate free public parking and close-up sled dog viewing," Ballou said. "The Campbell Tract venue is one of our best kept secrets."

Iditarod organizers urge fans to leave the family dog home so it doesn't distract the athletes. And stay off the trail.

Portable toilets will supplement restrooms at the Campbell Creek Science Center, 5600 Science Center Driver off Elmore Road. The center also has hot chocolate and Iditarod exhibits.

Trail users beware

Runners and other trail pedestrians should be aware that snowmachines transporting Iditarod crews will be inspecting trails and setting fences today in preparation for the Saturday's ceremonial start.

The trails will be closed all day Saturday for the Iditarod.

On Sunday, hundreds of skiers in the Tour of Anchorage race will be on the trails much of the day. Racers should be across the multi-use intersections by noon.

Anchorage Daily News