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Infamous "Into the Wild" bus removed from the Alaskan backcountry

After years of drawing travelers from all over the world to a remote and difficult-to-access location in Alaska, the "Magic Bus" has been removed for safety reasons.

By: Kyle Frost + Save to a List

In 2007, I picked up a copy of "Into the Wild" at an airport bookstore. The combination of Jon Krakauers prose, Christopher McCandless' wild spirit, and the exploration/nature aspect really struck a chord with me. That said, I enjoyed it and was inspired, but not to the level of many readers.

I never felt the need to sell all my possessions and wander the West. I've also never felt the need to visit the "Magic Bus". The same can't be said for hundreds of people who have made the pilgrimage to the bus where McCandless spent the last months of his life. In April 1992, McCandless hitchhiked to Alaska, where a man dropped him off at the head of the Stampede Trail. He came upon the "Magic Bus" and lived there for about three months before deciding to leave the wilderness. Unfortunately, he was unable to cross the treacherous nearby river and was forced to return to the bus, where he died about a month later.

It's a romantic tale of the wild for many, and also a cautionary tragedy. With the release of the movie and overall increased interest in the outdoors, McCandless and the bus reached a cult-like reverence, drawing people from all over the world. Unfortunately, the Alaskan wild isn't very forgiving, and influx of visitors has also resulted in many close calls and 15 rescue operations since 2009. Many have been calling for access to be closed or the bus to be removed for years. Yesterday, state officials took action.

Is the "Into the Wild" bus still there?

No. As of yesterday, June 18, 2020 the bus is gone. It was airlifted out by state officials using a Chinook helicopter and placed on a flatbed truck. The bus' destination is unknown, but it's expected that it will find a home in a safer and more accessible location in the coming months/years. While sure to strike an emotional chord for some, local residents and officials are likely relieved, having expressed issues with the flood of unprepared travelers over the years.

Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Corri Feige said in a prepared statement. “However, this is an abandoned and deteriorating vehicle that was requiring dangerous and costly rescue efforts, but more importantly, was costing some visitors their lives. I’m glad we found a safe, respectful and economical solution to this situation.”

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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