A petition to name the eastern peak of Mount Sopris near Carbondale after John Denver, the “Rocky Mountain High” singer, has run into rough weather.
Federal policy does not allow naming of peaks in wilderness areas and Mount Sopris, a peak west of Aspen, Colorado, comes under it.
JP McDaniel who started the petition, said she has 2,800 signatures supporting her idea to name the east peak of the 12,965-foot mountain after Denver. She's sending application documents to the geographic names board, based in Reston, Va.
The Wilderness Act of 1964 states that a wilderness area is recognized as one “where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man.” “The board feels that extends to naming new features in wilderness areas,” said Mr Lou Yost, the board Executive Secretary to The Washington Post. He reiterated that very few names have been added to wilderness areas. Exceptions can be made for safety or educational reasons, he added. He also revealed that he had not received the petition till date.
His music lovers want an alternate peak named after him. The 1972 hit “Rocky Mountain High” is one of Colorado’s two official state songs. The petition in favor of naming the peak after Denver emphasizes his dedication to conserving and protecting the environment.
“John Denver contributed much to enrich many lives,” the petition says. “His timeless music brings enjoyment to people worldwide; his numerous humanitarian projects continue to bring about positive changes; and his passionate environmental and conservation efforts remain significant.”
McDaniel said Congress set a precedent by renaming South Hunter Peak in Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve after the late Sen. Ted Stevens, who was killed last year in a plane crash.
The peak also has a John Denver connection. Ms McDaniel, who knew Denver, has said that a camping trip at William Lake which lies near Mount Sopris was the inspiration for the song “Rocky Mountain High”. He was inspired by a meteor that flew across the sky that night, hence the lyric, “I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky,” claimed McDaniel to the Washington Post. The Peak can be seen from the Windstar Foundation, which Denver co-founded. The Foundation promotes a healthy and sustainable environment. It gives environmental scholarships and holds symposiums and programs to promote their vision of responsible ecological development.
Getting a peak named after the singer who died in a plane crash may not be an easy task. Apart from governmental body disapproval there are many who believe he does not deserve such an honor. Some are plainly not taken with the practice of naming peaks after singers. “Roads and such are acceptable, but a peak is too much,” one resident claimed. A Facebook page, “Don’t Name Mt. Sopris After John Denver,” has attracted more than 150 “friends” already.