ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The National Park Service is not against changing Mount McKinley’s official name to Denali, but Alaskans continue to be in a battle with Ohioans over the name of North America’s tallest mountain.
A director with the park service, Victor Knox, weighed in on Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s bill that calls for the name change, reported The Alaska Dispatch News Wednesday.
“The National Park Service appreciates the long history and public interest for both the name Mount McKinley and the traditional Athabaskan name Denali,” Knox said at the Senate hearing.
“The department respects the choice made by this legislation and it does not object to S. 319,” he said.
Alaskans have filed several bills since 1975 to change the name and Ohioans have continued to block the effort.
The mountain is named after former president William McKinley, who was from Canton, Ohio.
In March, Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs filed a bill that would stop the U.S. Board of Geographic Names from changing the mountain’s name.
It is still unclear whether Murkowski will be able to get the legislation through the Senate, or if Rep. Don Young can get it passed in the House.
“At home in Alaska, we just call it Denali because it’s part of our history.
Officially changing the name from Mount McKinley to Mount Denali will show the longstanding significance that the name Denali holds for Alaskans,” Murkowski said.