John Denver Mountain?

Mount Sopris

If it’s possible to miss someone you’ve never met, then I miss John Denver. I liked his music, even if it wasn’t really country music. Denver died in a private plane crash in 1997. And I still sing Rocky Mountain High, when the mood strikes me. So I’m intrigued about the effort to have Mt. Sopris, a Colorado peak, named after him. It won’t be easy.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names says that federal policy is to avoid adding names to peaks in federal wilderness areas.

Mount Sopris, a majestic volcanic summit west of Aspen, is in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, managed by the US Forest Service. At least they didn’t try to rename a mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park.

But still it’s a problem. The geographic board’s executive secretary, Lou Yost, said that under the board’s interpretation of the Wilderness Act of 1964, applying new names to features in wilderness areas detracts from the wilderness experience.

Some people want another mountain named after Denver and still others oppose because they don’t like his music. Guess what? None of this matter. It is not a popularity poll. The geographic board will make the decision and I have a feeling that it will be “no”.

Still Denver’s music goes on. Rocky Mountain High is Colorado’s state song and will be my song when I go to Family Nature Summit next July.

…rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky

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