YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (AP) — A plan to rename a Yosemite National Park peak after the wife of 19th century explorer John Fremont is running into opposition from the National Park Service, which says it does not support the commemorative naming of landscape features in national parks, a newspaper reported.
A bill in Congress would change the name of 12,000-foot Mammoth Peak to Mount Jessie Benton Fremont, the Fresno Bee reported last week. The peak is Yosemite’s sixth highest and lies in the park’s east.
Jessie Fremont, born in 1824, was a strong advocate of preserving Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia trees. She chronicled her husband, John Fremont’s, expeditions to the West and was a champion of the country’s westward expansion.
“The naming of the peak is an important and overdue step in recognizing her important contributions to California and the nation,” said Rep. Tom McClintock, who is pushing for the legislation. His Congressional district includes Yosemite National Park.
But the National Park Service says in addition to generally discouraging such commemorative naming, Jessie Fremont has no link to Mammoth Peak.
“There should be a compelling justification for the recognition and a strong, direct association between the landscape feature and the person being commemorated,” National Park Service Associate Director Victor Knox testified last month.
The bill’s prospects are uncertain. It has passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee, but a companion measure has not been introduced in the Senate, the Bee reported.
Similar naming efforts have failed. In 2008, Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California introduced legislation to rename Yosemite’s 14,000-foot North Palisade Peak after the late environmentalist and mountaineer David Brower. But the bill failed to attract Republicans skeptical of Brower’s environmental work, the Bee reported.