Ohio newspaper endorses Mt. McKinley name change

Photo: National Park Service
Photo: National Park Service

The longstanding Alaskan campaign to restore the name “Denali” to Mount McKinley got an unlikely endorsement today.

For decades, Ohio Congress members have blocked the name change. William McKinley was from Ohio, and Ohioans have argued that renaming the mountain would dishonor a martyred president.

Today, though, one of Ohio’s largest newspapers called on the Buckeye State to stand down. The Columbus Dispatch calls Ohio’s insistence an “unseemly effort on behalf of a politician who never set foot near the mountain and had no known interest in it.”

The editorial suggests that, if the peak is officially named Denali — a moniker that pre-dates the United States — maybe the National Park handle could be changed back to “McKinley.” The newspaper reasons that the park was a creation of the government and might serve as a more fitting tribute to the 25th president, who was killed by an assassin’s bullet in 1901.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has added the name change to the Interior Appropriations bill. She also sponsored a stand-alone bill to do the same.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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