UPDATE: The Into the Wild bus will likely find a home at the University of Alaska Fairbank’s Museum of the North.
The Department of Natural Resources issued a press release on Thursday.saying it would likely be putting the bus in the museum, which is located on the UAF campus.
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However, the bus was proving to be a deadly attraction, as its fame and remote location was a toxic mix that drew adventurous people whose zeal outweighed their ability to navigate the rough outback. That resulted in several rescue missions and at least two deaths.
The Dept. of Natural Resources’ Corri Feige said that the Museum of the North could preserve the bus and avoid profiteering, since it is the place where young philosopher Christopher McCandless, the subject of the book, died at age 26.
The bus originally operated in Fairbanks and began housing mining crews in the 1960s. Last month, the bus was airlifted to a “secure but undisclosed location” at the request of the Denali Borough mayor.
EARLIER: The abandoned bus made famous by the book and film Into the Wild has been removed by Alaska authorities from its back country site over fears it was luring the public into danger.
The bus was removed by an Army National Guard chopper on Thursday. It was abandoned on state land about a half-mile outside the Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska Public Media reported.
“I know it’s the right thing for public safety in the area, removing the perilous attraction,” Denali Borough Mayor Clay Walker said. “At the same time, it’s always a little bittersweet when a piece of your history gets pulled out.” There has been no decision on what to do with the bus, but Walker said it may be put on display somewhere.
Christopher McCandless, a young philosopher whose tragic end was depicted in Into the Wild, starved to death when the site’s rugged conditions prevented him from getting help. He died in 1992.
Author Jon Krakauer’s 1996 book memorialized McCandless and the bus. Sean Penn made the story into a movie in 2007. Penn wrote the screenplay and directed, and Emile Hirsch played McCandless.
The bus has proved a lure for adventurers familiar with the book and film. Last year, a woman attempting to visit the so-called “Magic Bus” drowned attempting to cross a river to get to the vehicle. About 15 search-and-rescues are required each year to save unwary hikers from the perils of the outback.
Veramika Maikamava and her husband, Piotr Markielau, both 24, were among those hikers. They were attempting to cross the Teklanika River along the Stampede Trail when Maikamava was swept under the water and drowned.
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