You are here: home   Blogs   The Range Blog   (Re)naming mountains
The Range Blog

(Re)naming mountains

Document Actions
Tip Jar Donation

Your donation supports independent non-profit journalism from High Country News.

John Freemuth | Oct 19, 2010 01:46 PM

I having been using Tim Egan’ s book The Big Burn about the fires of 1910 that changed fire policy in the United States in my public land policy class this semester. A key part of his book is about the early days of the U.S. Forest Service, its Chief Gifford Pinchot, and the forest rangers who, new to the job, tried heroically to fight those fires in Idaho and Montana. He writes about those people in such a way that they come alive.

The legacy those and other fires left that new agency is large and still can lie heavy on it and all of us. The early Forest Service also had its enemies. One of them, Senator Heyburn of Idaho, tried to defund the new agency and have it abolished; it was that “ damn federal government” standing in the way of Heyburn and his cronies. Heyburn was also one of those Senators chosen before the passage of the 17th amendment, the one that now lets citizens elect their US senators.

Mt Heyburn

Mt. Heyburn image courtesy Flickr user aj_jones_iv

This is not a historical footnote; there are those who would repeal that amendment giving us what….more Senator Heyburns? Heyburn did not succeed, but Egan reminds us it was a battle. It is simply amazing then, that a walk around or boat ride on Redfish Lake in Idaho, reveals Mount Heyburn in the Sawtooth Mountain range, one of the Forest Service’ s most proud and important places. Shouldn’ t this mountain have a name more suited to someone who did something to protect the Sawtooths and at least dealt honorably with the agency that manages them? It is time to start the process to change the name of this peak.

John Freemuth  is a professor of political science and public policy at Boise State University.

Agassiz Peak
Oct 20, 2010 12:09 AM
How about changing the name of Agassiz Peak in northern Arizona? It was named after Louis Agassiz, the scientific racist. I'm sure there are plenty other examples of geographical features with inappropriate names.
Oct 20, 2010 07:14 AM
Because of the 17th amendment we elect political hacks of both parties instead of advocates of the states as the founders intended.
John Freemuth
John Freemuth
Oct 20, 2010 10:26 AM
I am every amendment to our Constitution "illegitimate" if it changes the intent of the Founders? How does this square with Jefferson's notion that he thought the Constitution, as written would last for maybe a generation?
Oct 20, 2010 11:36 AM
Nobody said anything about "illegitimate" It did change the founders intent with unintended results. The House was set up for "the peoples voice"
Just mountains
Oct 20, 2010 11:53 AM
Why stop at renaming mountains a lot of streets and town names piss me off. Let's purge names of things we hate every 4 years.
several things
John Freemuth
John Freemuth
Oct 20, 2010 12:41 PM
Well, we amended the Constitution because we felt that direct election of US Senators was more "democratic" and because of a good deal of corruption. It seems to me that US Senators still do a pretty good job of representing state concerns.Certainly the earmark process is one example. What Ive found in talking with many people is that they want a direct choice, rather than letting state legislatures do the choosing. That seems to be reality today..right or wrong.

As for changing names..go for it! Nothing wrong with that, especially if you think the name is a bad one. That seems to be what some in Idaho feel about Mt. Heyburn, though I'll admit it will be pretty hard to do.
Come on man
Oct 20, 2010 12:48 PM
Maybe I thought I was clear, I'll have to do a better job at being sarcastic.
fire away
john freemuth
john freemuth
Oct 20, 2010 12:50 PM
Im slow but Im trainable.

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. Idaho’s sewer system is the Snake River | As Big Ag flourishes, this massive waterway suffer...
  2. The Latest: Wild Mexican wolf pups born in Sierra Madre | The species still struggles on both sides of the b...
  3. Summer swimming in a Washington lake | A writer takes the plunge in frigid water.
  4. Colorado water users gird for first statewide plan |
  5. Closure of federal sheep facility would be a victory for grizzlies |
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. Idaho’s sewer system is the Snake River | As Big Ag flourishes, this massive waterway suffer...
  3. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  4. Illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans | A native-born New Mexico Hispanic points out that ...
  5. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone