Friday, September 4, 2015
SEPT 4 MOUNT McKINLEY IS NOW MOUNT DENALI
The DUNER BLOG mailbox has been stuffed with letters regarding President Obama's decision to rename the tallest peak in the USA. Let's get started:
Didn't they already change the name to Denali? Ted, Oakland. Good question, Ted. Back in 1980, the National Park Service did, in fact, rename the land surrounding Mount McKinley. So the National Park has been called Denali for 35 years. However, the mountain itself remained named after the 25th US President.
What does the world 'Denali' mean? Helen, Houston. The folks who live around the 20,310 foot peak are the Athabaskans. The word "Denali" translates as "The Tall One." George Vancouver was the first non-Inuit to view the mountain in 1794, but he just called it "Stupendous!" During the Alaska Gold Rush, a miner named Frank Densmore named it after himself. A decade later, a "McKinley for President" supporter audaciously slapped the moniker on the peak and it stuck. In 1917, it officially became a national park.
Shouldn't everyone be fighting the wildfires instead? Walter, Memphis. Good point! But basically, the whole point of the trip to Alaska is a desperate attempt for the President to get tepid American attention span back on Global Warming. Sure...one such fire scorched an area the size of Connecticut...but US media attention is still focused intently on Kylie Jenner's 18th birthday party. Tomorrow, Barack will become the first US President to cross the Arctic Circle. It's unlikely to receive much news coverage either.
What will the punishment be for using the old name? Carl, Colorado Springs. Hmm. The President did not specify that fact, Carl. But you do make a great point. All around the world, there have been initiatives to revert back to 'native' names with mixed results. Maps still have Australia's Uluru labeled as Ayers Rock. Bombay has been Mumbai for decades, but Bollywood hasn't become Mollywood. People will still call Pluto a planet as well. Let's just hope the Feds don't spend too much money re-doing all the signage..