The bus in which an American hiker died, and later inspired the movie Into the Wild and became something of a tourist attraction, will likely be moved to a new location at a Fairbanks museum, USA Today reported.
Officially known as “Fairbanks Bus 142,” the vehicle was used as a sort of back-country shelter for construction workers for a few years before being abandoned and left to rot after its initial use. It then took on a second life as an ersatz shelter for hikers, trappers, and other explorers of the Stampede Trail.
In 1992, American hiker/adventurer Christopher McCandless died in the bus, likely of starvation, at the age of 24. The bus then became something of a tourist attraction, bringing sightseers and curiosity-seekers; it gained even more notoriety when a film about McCandless’ death — Into the Wild — was released in 2007.
Unfortunately, the bus’ remote location in difficult woods often attracted people not properly equipped to deal with the rigors of exploring in that area. Several had to be rescued, and some even died trying to reach the bus.
Last month, officials in Alaska deemed that the bus was too much of a nuisance to remain and sent in Army National Guard helicopters to remove it.
When it was first removed, officials didn’t have a clear plan for what to do with the ersatz shrine. However, since its removal, says Natural Resources Commissioner Corri Feige, his agency has received dozens of offers from various entities interested in the vehicle. Some wanted to memorialize it. Some wanted to make money from it.
In the end, the agency decided that the offer that works best for all parties involved came from the University of Alaska, which offered to place the bus in its Museum of the North in Fairbanks.
“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 the public could experience it fully, yet safely and respectfully, and without the specter of profiteering,” Feige said.
Feige said that putting it on display “can honor all of the lives and dreams, as well as the deaths and sorrows associated with the bus.”
It remains unclear when the vehicle will finally be on public display at its new home. Feige expects all the paperwork to be signed over the next few months.