Denali vs. McKinley

Alaska representatives move to officially rename McKinley Denali

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I’m going to come out and say it: President William McKinley was a jerk. To curry his favor, Alaskans named our country’s highest point after him, and he couldn’t even be bothered to visit. Like I said: jerk.

Ever since, Alaskans have petitioned the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to officially rechristen the 20,322-ft. peak as Denali, which means “the High One” in the native Athabascan tongue. This year, Alaskan Representative Scott Kawasaki, of Fairbanks, filed another resolution to move forward with the official renaming.

They might’ve had a better chance this year, as the primary nemesis to the plan retired: Since 1976, 1975, Ohio Rep. Ralph Regula has blocked legislation to rename the peak. His reason? He comes from a district that includes the long-dead President McKinley’s hometown. Unfortunately, despite his retirement, two other Ohio congressmen have vowed to continue fighting to keep the McKinley name on the mountain.

Now that’s what I call a grudge match. All native Alaskans call the mountain Denali, anyway—what will it take for Ohio to let go? They can always rename the mighty Campbell Hill “Mt. McKinley” instead.

—Ted Alvarez

Legislators move to have Mount McKinley renamed Denali (Anchorage Daily News)

via GoBlog