'Into the Wild' bus removal was long overdue - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 28, 2020
HomeAnchorage Daily Planet‘Into the Wild’ bus removal was long overdue

‘Into the Wild’ bus removal was long overdue

Finally, the bus made famous in the 1996 book “Into the Wild” has been unceremoniously yanked from the backcountry along the Stampede Trail where it has sat for the past six decades.

The abandoned bus was the site of the 1992 starvation death of 24-year-old Virginian Christopher McCandless. His ordeal was depicted in the book, by Jon Krakauer, and in a 2007 feature film.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and the Alaska Army National Guard collaborated to get the bus out of the wild where, over the years, it has served as a beacon for many trying to retrace McCandless’ footsteps.

There have been scores of rescues and searches and at least two hikers have died trying to cross the Teklanika River near the decrepit, long abandoned bus – Fairbanks Transit Bus 142. It routinely lured adventurers attempting to retrace McCandless’ steps for whatever reason. It was dumped on state land in about 1960 near the boundary of the Denali National Park and Preserve.

McCandless in 1992 could not get back across the river and died of starvation after living for about 114 days at the bus. His death, and the controversy following publication of “Into the Wild,” are not seen by all as a sort of heroic tragedy. It rather is seen as a gritty and not unexpected testament to what happens when you venture into Alaska’s wilds unskilled and unprepared and unaware.

Denali Borough officials have wanted the bus gone because of the deaths and rescues and searches that cost time and money. It was a continuing danger.

The only question we have about the removal is: Why did it take the state so long?

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Latest comments

  • A good example of nanny state over reach. I presume allowing climbers up to Denali is next? Life is full of risks! Let it be!

  • Now, Darwin can take a vacation. The stupid won’t be weeded out and can breed!

    Might have been a tad cheaper to do though, in the winter with a cat.

  • That bus was a deadly attractive nuisance that cost taxpayers money and put rescuer’s lives at risk. Take that ugly bus to the chop shop and cut it up into 100,000 pieces and the state can sell each piece on eBay for $100 bucks. What a nice way to reduce the budget deficit.

    • That you reduced everything to a dollar amount makes it clear you don’t understand what it is to be a REAL Alaskan. My condolences to the “Queen”.

    • A moment of silence for Old 142, she served the citizens of Fairbanks and the Stampede miners well. She provided shelter for many a weary traveler. But alas, she could not provide one with common sense.

      • Take that rattle trap bus and sink it in the Inlet, never to be seen again.

        • I kind of like the King of Uganda’s idea. Only, use the money for state rescue operations.

        • Antonio is a real Alaskan? LMFAO!

        • Ship it COD to Jon Krakauer’s front yard and let him deal with it.

  • Darn, we need more of the “bus” out there to help sort out the fools and idiots.

    • Maybe they could take it to Katmai for a shelter for bear viewing.

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