Grizzly License Plates Ready For Issue

(Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles)
(Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles)

Starting Thursday, Alaskans will be able to get license plates with bears on them.

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The Division of Motor Vehicles has brought back a 1976 license plate that was originally issued for the United States’ bicentennial. The updated plate features a grizzly reared up against a sunset backdrop.

Right now, the standard license plate in Alaska is solid yellow, with an Alaska flag in the center and the words “The Last Frontier” below. DMV Director Amy Erickson expects the bear plates to be a popular alternative.

“We’re anticipating that most people are going to select the bear over the ‘Last Frontier’ now,” says Erickson.

Erickson says she plans to keep her Last Frontier license plate. But retired legislator Peggy Wilson, who sponsored the bear plate bill last year, says she plans to change hers immediately. The Wrangell Republican says the grizzly design is a conversation starter, particularly for Alaskans roadtripping outside the state.

“When you are from Alaska, people just want to talk about Sarah Palin,” says Wilson. “And now, this is something else — the license plate, it gives them another conversation starter.”

Wilson says the original idea for the bear plate legislation came from a constituent, who once had the original version on his car. That constituent will be the first person to be issued the new plates.

Drivers seeking to swap their Last Frontier plates for the grizzly design can do so for $5.