Yesterday afternoon the president of the Alaska Division of Parks and Recreation Paul B. Gudd announced a final decision in the controversial renaming of the Stampede Trail. “…the Stampede Trail will not be renamed the Chris McCandless trail but will instead remain as the Stampede Trail.” This statement was made after a lengthy string of debates.
The defendants were a motley crew of Park Officials, outraged Alaskan citizens, and Chris enthusiasts. One self-expressed acolyte remarked; “Chris McCandless would not want this place renamed after him. He went there to be free of people and society; a separate world that was untouched by humans, under no ownership. This place is where he died. We should be celebrating his life, not his death. Is where he died really important?”
Chris’s sister spoke in an interview about her views on the debate. “If he was watching that, he would be frustrated that we were all getting caught up in this trivial debate. Then again, he might just think it was funny.” Said Carine in the interview. “I am glad that his life has inspired so many people, but do they really think that renaming the trail after him will make a difference? This trail is the Stampede Trail, that’s how Chris knew it, that’s how people will continue knowing it, even if the sign at the trailhead says differently.”
When she was asked what her opinion was, she answered that “Chris wouldn’t want fame just for the sake of it. It would be against his ideals. He was trying to make a point going there, and in his whole life really, how society is so corrupt. This was Chris’s chance to live freely, without human complications and rules and restrictions.”
But in the end, it was an overwhelming response from the public that shot the proposal down. “We got letters from all over. From all over the States, even a few internationally, just boxes and boxes of ‘em.” Says Paul Gudd, the President of the Alaska Division of Parks and Recreation. “From farmers and lawyers, school children and retired couples. Some supported the switch, but almost all of them didn’t. They expressed a powerful response; Let this be. And I can agree with that.”