Born Henry John Deutschendorf, a rising folk singer in the late 60s changed his name to John Denver and made it big time with “Rocky Mountain High,” his ode to Colorado’s natural beauty — and now one of the state’s official songs. You’d think with those credentials, it would be a walk in the park to go ahead and name a Aspen-area mountaintop the “John Denver Peak.”
Well, if it was easy, we wouldn’t be writing about it.
Yes, there are those in the greater Aspen area who oppose naming the peak for the guitar-yielding nature lover. Why? Some point out that Denver was not a native son of the state. (The singer was born in Roswell, New Mexico.) Bloggers like Lou Dawson think that Denver’s contributions to conservation were not as large as they seem. Still others blame songs like “Rocky Mountain High” for bringing too many people (and their environmental footprint) to the state.
The decision to name the peak now rests with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.
Could the public’s concerns really prevent the naming of “John Denver Peak?”