Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

Public invited to Dedication of L.V. Ray Interpretive Sign

August 25, 2014

Johnson Pass Trailhead, Moose Pass—The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area in partnership with the Chugach Forest Service announces the dedication and installation of the new L.V. Ray interpretive sign to replace one that went missing during road construction several years ago. The event is scheduled August 26 at 1:30 p.m. at the south Johnson Pass Trailhead and will be attended by officials from the City of Seward, the Chugach National Forest, the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area, a member of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s staff, and members of the L.V. Ray family.  The public is invited to attend. The trailhead is located at MP 32.6 on the Seward Highway.

LeRoy Vincent Ray was a Seward lawyer and mining investor who was the city mayor three times and Senate president of the first Alaska Territorial Legislature. Ray was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1878. After studying for the bar and spending a year working in Ketchikan, the 28-year-old Ray arrived in Seward for the first time in January 1906. The town was booming with industry — shipping, fishing, mining and construction of the Alaska Central Railway. Soon to come would be the opening of the Iditarod trail and the establishment of the Chugach National Forest.

Ray opened a law office in 1906 in the Harriman bank building downtown. The following year he was appointed assistant U.S. attorney for the Third Judicial Division. He met and married Hazel Sheldon in 1908. In 1912 Alaska became a territory, and in March 1913, Ray took his place as Senate president. The first act of this first Alaska Legislature was to grant women in the territory the right to vote. (The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving all citizens the right to vote, would not be passed for another seven years.) In July 1923, during one of Ray’s terms as mayor, Warren G. Harding, the President of the United States visited Seward on his way to dedicate the completion of the Alaska Railroad.

L.V. Ray peak (elevation 4,911 feet) was named in his honor and can be seen from the south Johnson Pass trailhead where the new commemorative sign is being placed.       For more information contact:

Kaylene Johnson, Program Manager, KMTA National Heritage Area 907-360-0480

Mona Spargo, Chugach National Forest  907-743-9500.

The KMTA National Heritage Area (KMTA-NHA) was established by Congress in 2009 to recognize, preserve, and interpret the historic resources and cultural landscapes of the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm transportation corridor.  Eighty-nine percent of the KMTA-NHA is located within the Chugach National Forest and includes the entire Seward Ranger District and part of the Glacier Ranger District.

The Heritage Area fosters planning and partnerships among the communities within the Corridor, as well as among individuals, businesses, borough, state, and federal agencies to promote the public enjoyment of these resources. The Heritage Area receives and administers funds, appropriated by Congress and other sources, to support communities in developing projects that recognize, preserve, and interpret the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm’s rich and scenic heritage. Committed to protecting and promoting the cultural, historical and natural assets of a region, National Heritage Areas play a vital role in maintaining both the physical character and the cultural legacy of the United States.

KMTA National Heritage Area grants are available for communities and organizations interested in projects that recognize, preserve, and interpret the historic, scenic, cultural, and recreational resources of the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area.