The bus made popular by Into the Wild has been removed from its location in the remote Alaskan back country and will find a new home in the University of Alaska Fairbank’s Museum of the North. In a press release issued by Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources last Thursday, the bus — known as “Bus 142” — had been removed from the Stampede Trail in June and will be preserved by the museum as a historical and cultural object.
“One of the many expressions of interest in the bus, the proposal from the UA Museum of the North best met the conditions we at DNR had established to ensure this historical and cultural object will be preserved in a safe location where he public could experience it fully, yet safely and respectfully, and without the specter of profiteering,” DNR Commissioner Corri Feige said in a statement.
The bus, which originally operated in Fairbanks, Alaska and housed mining crews in the 1960s, was made famous by John Krakauer’s 1996 nonfiction book Into the Wild which detailed the story of 24-year-old Chris McCandless, a young man who after college gave away his money and possessions and made his way via hitchhiking to Alaska to live in the wilderness. McCandless made his way to the bus where he survived for approximately 113 days before dying of starvation, his body found inside the bus. The book was made into a movie written and directed by Sean Penn, starring Emile Hirsch as McCandless in 2007.
Over the years, McCandless’ story has inspired many to attempt to make the trek to visit the bus, resulting in numerous search-and-rescue operations as hikers unaware or unprepared for the rugged terrain run into challenges. At least two people have died trying to reach the bus.
According to the DNR’s statement, preserving Bus 142 will also help preserve and tell the stories of others for whom the bus played an important role during its time as city transportation in Fairbanks, construction crew housing, and even hunters and other adventurers who sought refuge in the bus as McCandless did.
“I believe that giving Bus 142 a long-term home in Fairbanks at the UA Museum of the North can help preserve and tell the stories of these people,” Feige said. “It can honor all the lives and dreams, as well as the deaths and sorrows associated with the bus, and do so with respect and dignity. I appreciate the Museum coming forward with its proposal and look forward to working with them on a final agreement.”
What do you think about the Into the Wild bus getting a new, permanent home in a museum? Let us know in the comments.
Photo: Alaska Department of Natural Resources via Getty Images
Tim M. Hill helped bring Digital-Overload from a weekly newsletter to a full-fledged news site by creating a new website and branding. He continues to assist in keeping the site responsive and well organized for the readers. As a writer to Digital-Overload, Tim mainly covers mobile news and gadgets.