WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) -- A representative from the National Park Service on Wednesday said the agency "does not object" to an Alaskan senator's bid to rename Mount McKinley to Mount Denali.
Victor Knox, the associate director for planning, facilities and lands at the Park Service, spoke before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks hearing, The Hill reported. The subcommittee was considering a bill authored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that would rename North America's highest mountain.
"The National Park Service appreciates the long history and public interest for both the name Mount McKinley and the traditional Athabascan name, Denali," Knox said. "The Department respects the choice made by this legislation, and does not object."
Murkowski said she's pushing the legislation to reinstate Mount McKinley's native name, Mount Denali, which means "high one." The mountain was named after the 25th president of the United States, William McKinley, in 1917 though the state of Alaska officially changed the name back to Denali in 1975.
Despite the change, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names continues to list the peak as Mount McKinley.
"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 long-standing significance that the name Denali holds for Alaskans," Murkowski said.
Murakowski's bill faces opposition from U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, who hails from the same state as McKinley. In January he introduced a bill to affirm the name as McKinley.
"Located in Alaska, Mount McKinley is the highest point in North America and has held the name of our nation's 25th president for over 100 years," he said at the time. "This landmark is a testament to his countless years of service to our country."