Out of the Wild? Alaskan Town Considers Removing McCandless Bus

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  10.19.07 | 5:57 AM ET

imageFuture “McCandless pilgrims” could be in for a disappointment. The Alaskan town of Healy, located about 40 kilometers from the old school bus where Christopher McCandless died, is considering the removal, restoration or destruction of the bus before the next wave of greenhorns, inspired by the recent film adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s book “Into the Wild,” arrive to pay tribute.

The Toronto Star has a story about the recent meeting at a town hall: “Various options were suggested, including moving the bus either to the start of the trail where people could drive to see it or to a park in nearby Fairbanks. ‘Although if we were to airlift it out of there, I don’t know that the bus just wouldn’t fall apart,’ said town Mayor David Talerico. ‘Some folks say the bus has been there so long, why not just leave it or just get rid of it altogether?’”

The bus is one of many placed at strategic points in the Alaskan wilderness to serve as refuges for hunters. Talerico went on: “The problem with getting rid of it is that we want to maintain its traditional use. But you know, Alaskans don’t want to spend their whole summer out rescuing people.”

Local hunting guide and reluctant pilgrim-rescuer Coke Wallace told the Star about his encounter with a young Torontonian visitor: “I told him there was no way he was going to last with only 10 pounds of rice, then I tried to give him some more food. And he said, ‘No. I want to replicate it exactly. That’d be cheating.’ I told him, ‘Well don’t replicate it exactly, I don’t want to be hauling a dead body back.’”

Related on World Hum:
* World Hum Travel Movie Club: ‘Into The Wild’
* The Critics: ‘Into the Wild,’ the Movie
* ‘Into the Wild’: Has the Truth About Christopher McCandless Been Lost?

Photo of Christopher McCandless at Fairbanks City Bus 142 via Wikipedia


Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.


8 Comments for Out of the Wild? Alaskan Town Considers Removing McCandless Bus

Ray 03.24.08 | 3:29 AM ET

I think it would be great to just keep the bus there, where it was left…What is it hurting??? Why spend town dollars moving that bus? Keep it as a memorial..If his parents set up a memorial for him at the site, leave it there..

Into the Wild 03.24.08 | 4:43 AM ET

I think the bus should stay.

Harker 03.28.08 | 1:00 AM ET

Hey guy, you reallyhave to think hard on this one, seriously, you have to look at what this young man did, and how that was the main point of survial for him. I do think the bis should just stay there, if your worried about people going to see it and getting trapped, Instead of spending money on it removal, spend the movey on a walking trail to it, or a trail you can drive through, It would be a major tourist attraction since the movie come out.

atomicdogma 03.31.08 | 6:53 AM ET

Why not take the bus out and put it in town as a memorial?

Kelsey 04.06.08 | 11:57 AM ET

If the locals want it gone, it’ll be gone. I imagine there are two local schools of thought on the matter:

1)Who cares?
2)Move the damn bus.

I would never want to visit a place where some guy starved to death. Seems kind of sick, really.  It’s been awhile since I’ve read the book, but I think a better way to honor the memory of Chris would be to travel around the country and enjoy the outdoors. 

If they do move the bus, they should build a small monument or a shack for for the hunters in memory of Chrs.

Dean 04.17.08 | 7:14 AM ET

The bus should be buried as well as poor chris was.(It will only lead too many people into this unspoilt wild.It would be better as “Kesley” said and to build a shack for the hunters,and a small monument
in memory of chris!
  Its not living “wild” thats the problem its the lack of knowledge and understanding,and being constantly alone.
Chris Did so well for what he had,and his spirit was great.

Laptoper 04.28.08 | 11:22 PM ET

Wild dances!

Tom 06.27.08 | 7:20 PM ET

First, I like to say that I hope anyone involved in helping to make choices about removing the bus read these posts.

For I strongly feel my thoughts would be to help speak on behalf/for Chris.

First thing: I in no way or shape ever knew or met him. Or anyone involved in this entire matter or the family.

I have no direct conflict pro or con. Just my heart felt thoughts I feel SHOULD be considered for ALL sides.

(Let us all think for a moment.)

What might Chris be saying today if he were here to reflect on our thoughts?

Hey ALL, I screwed up badly! Dang! However, you know what, I LOVED EVERY Minute of my travels. Heck, I sure wished things had NOT turned out the way it did. But hey, I am dead ok?

So like live life, get on with yours OR you ALL will just miss it and it will have passed you all up! Like they used in the film with ďTracy TĒ Just go after it, grab it while you can.

(Now about the bus:)

Sure, I donít care much for all the fuss over it. Nevertheless, COOL anyway THANKS for all the kind words!

More So let us be honest here, ITíS JUST A BUS! Besides, you think for one neo second, I would want others to loose out the thrill of coming up here to the bus, ALL because of so many negative thoughts because the fact I SCREWED UP? NOOOO!

In life many take risks, like those who climb mountains (and fall), so we should remove all the mountains for the stupidity of some? I do not think so.

I could have drowned going down the river in the canoe, being I had no canoe/rafting training of any sort. So maybe drain all the rivers so another foolish (Insert name here) donít maybe drown? I do not think so.

When I was riding the trains and hopping on them. Did I get crushed/killed by the train? As we/many have heard of them stories, have we not? Yet trains still run to this very day, do they not?

If anything, I would hope OTHERS would LEARN from my STUPID mistake/s I made, follow course to do it the right way, OR a better way.
You remove the bus, what will that accomplish?

So no one will ever again die in the wilderness? No one will ever again have to go on rescues to help those who fall short due to (whatever) the circumstance/s might be that be felled them? I do not think so.

I would love to know those who come to the bus, came to follow there dreams, like that I did. But more so NOT make the same mistake I did, and learn from it.

So in conclusion: That is IMHO what I am feeling in my heart/mind about just a SMALL few thoughts what I feel Chris would be saying to all of us.

Just think IF had he been found in time alive, OR he found away to get out.

We lost (I think) someone that would have brought great wonders to many. He even likely would have been the first to admit how he GOOFED up, and help others to do it the right way.

SADLY <> WAS NOT THE CASE.

The BUS SHOULD remain, and let life go on.
It was or must have been his time to go. In life, we all try to live, and what comes with life, comes death as well.
They BOTH walk hand in hand by each otherís side. For the most part, none of us knows when that day comes, we die. To remove the bus in it self. Dieing will continue with the bus there, or not being there.
I say leave it there, let others use it as it was meant to be used.

However, IF (and sadly too many will), those who try to sell items from it, should be strongly pursued for theft of stolen items. After all, the bus does (last registered too the Fairbanks Transit) and having any part in stuff from it being stolen or attempted to be sold, SHOULD be treated as such as a crime!

Therefore, that is my thoughts, and for Chris, I feel his thoughts as well would be the same.

May blessings come to him in peace, and to his family. As well to all that this story touches in your:

Mind/Sprit/Body/Soul and heart.

Thanks, Tom

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