John Denver peak naming controversy goes national thanks to NPR (AUDIO)

Suddenly, the question of whether a a Mount Sopris peak should be named for John Denver has gone from a local story to a national one even as a petition with at least 2,800 signatures hangs in limbo.

Yesterday, National Public Radio devoted a significant chunk of All Things Considered to a debate over whether saluting Denver is an appropriate tribute or a dopey distraction.

KUNC's Kirk Siegler tells the tale, noting along the way that Denver -- born Henry John Deutschendorf -- isn't originally from Colorado (he was a New Mexico native) and his environmental legacy isn't celebrated by everyone. After all, Siegler points out that Denver's Starwood property in Aspen served as the foundation for one of America's most exclusive, and expensive, developments.

The report ends by emphasizing that the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which will ultimately decide if John Denver fans will have a peak experience, typically approves such requests only for reasons of education or safety.

Speaking of which: Anyone who dislikes Denver's music will be at risk from the report, since it liberally uses samples of his tuneage. Consider yourself warned. To listen, click here.

More from our Comment of the Day archive: "Readers: John Denver was a cocaine addict & drunk driver, so don't name peak for him."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts