FAIRBANKS — When Randy Zarnke was first handed an unpublished memoir about a little-known Yukon and Chena River gold miner named Frederick James Currier, the book stood out to Zarnke, both because of the types of adventures and the way the stories about them were told.
That’s saying something, because Zarnke knows Alaska outdoor stories well. He’s the president of the Alaska Trappers Association and has interviewed nearly 200 Alaska outdoorsmen for his previous book “Alaska Tracks: Life Stories from Hunters, Fisherman and Trappers of Alaska.”
“My initial reaction was, ‘Man this is really great,’” Zarnke said. “My second reaction was, ‘We’ve got to share it more widely.’“ In 2007, Zarnke received the manuscript from his friend Dirk Tordoff, a former Rasmuson Library Alaska Film Archives curator. Since reading it, Zarnke has been working on getting the book published through the Alaska Trappers Association and Anchorage business Publication Consultants.
It took years to find Currier’s family in California to get permission to publish the memoir and then to produce a book, but it will finally come together this fall.
Frederick James Currier’s daughter Amy June Currier Jorgensen, who typed and edited her father’s memoirs, is 98 and lives in California. She wasn’t able to make the trip to Fairbanks for the book signing, but her son Kirke Currier Jorgensen plans to be here.
Zarnke kept the title for the book that was chosen by Currier, “An Alaskan Adventure: A Story of Finding Gold in the Far North.”