Kit Carson Mountain, one of Colorado’s 54 fourteeners, lies in the Sangre de Cristo Range near Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. The small San Luis Valley community of Crestone is anchored below these majestic peaks and is ground zero in a name change petition controversy.
Residents of Crestone have petitioned the federal government to officially change the name of 14,165-foot Kit Carson Mountain to Mount Crestone. The petition has brought about a debate on Kit Carson and divided the community which has become known for attracting more liberal-minded politically correct people and followers of eastern religion. It seems that these recent residents want to remove Carson’s name because of the Union government’s 1863 – 1864 campaign against the Navajo people which Carson led, resulting in the “Long Walk” or the Navajo’s version of President Jackson’s Trail of Tears.
On the other side of this debate you’ll find mountain climbers, the U. S. Forest Service, local old timers, and historians who contest changing the name of this mountain peak which has held Carson’s name since 1873. The opponents to the name change petition cite various reasons for allowing Kit Carson’s name to remain, including the potential confusion to fire fighters and hikers, changing and reprinting maps, and paying respect to a historical figure who explored and helped open the West prompted by President Polk’s continuation of Monroe’s policy of Manifest Destiny.
This petition debate is much more than a simple argument over a name. I liken this controversy to just another step in the culture war being waged in this nation. Some of you may think it should be handled at the local level and let the community name their peak whatever they want, but I see things more as a domino effect reeking of political correctness.
Let’s suppose that after Kit Carson Mountain’s name gets renamed to Mount Crestone (which would make three Crestone peak names near each other), the folks behind the petition drive decide that we need to change the name of the Sangre de Cristo Range (Blood of Christ) to something completely different and bland. Possibly a name that would allow this majestic range to be released from the implied honor that Spaniards gave the range in reference to Christ. My knowledge of western history has taught me that many acts of brutality have been associated with both the Spaniards and the Christian faith. Is that sufficient reason to change the name of a mountain range? Absolutely not!
In not too distant Archuleta County, you’ll find Jackson Mountain (named after photographer, W. H. Jackson) in the Holy Cross Wilderness. A mountain nowhere near as impressive as Kit Carson Mountain, climbing to a mere 8,862 feet, but whose name could easily be confused with President Jackson by the politically correct. Add to that the potential tie to the Christian association of the mountain’s named wilderness area and we can have another petition for a name change.
While they’re at it, they should include Jackson County, Colorado, to the name change list. At least it would be removing the name of another brutal American hero in the eyes of those want to rewrite our nation’s history.
Should the residents of the communities who see Pikes Peak from their front porch petition to change the name of Zebulon Pike’s mountain to reflect a more modern tone? Maybe we should change Pikes Peak to America’s Peak? Or Garden of the Gods could be renamed the Valley of Sandstone Sculptures.
I’m sure by now you’re becoming painfully aware of how political correctness and the rewriting of history can destroy the living color of our past and turn everything to blasé, black and white.
The renaming of Kit Carson Mountain is just another step to rid our world of western culture. Therefore, I side with the old timers and ask that the feds refuse to grant the request to rename the peak.