I would like to comment on the attempt to add John Denver’s name to Mount Sopris.
The comments by J.P. McDaniel about the opposition and in general the reasons for adding the name seem innocent. But they are, in the traditional Flatlander way, not considering what the people here want.
While John Denver may be liked, Mount Sopris is revered and respected.
A friend of mine from Aspen High School lost his life on that mountain a very long time ago. I have climbed many of the fourteeners in the Elk Mountains, and Mount Sopris has beat me back on two occasions.
The people here speak of the mountain as a lady and call her Sopie. She is a constant reminder to we who live here just how small we really are as we stand before the magnificent beauty of that creation.
Generations before me who are long gone called her Sopie. My children and grandchildren call her Sopie, and I do not want that to change.
I liked John Denver. I grew up in Aspen before John Denver came. He did good things for Aspen, but so have a lot of other people. Three thousand supporters from the metro area may think it’s cute to just name a mountain on a whim, but the people here have a different feeling when it comes to changing the names of our mountains. They are family to us.
If there is so much support for a John Denver Peak, why not rename Green Mountain or Lookout Mountain? Then everyone in future generations from Denver can look up and say that’s John Denver Mountain above the city, named after him.
J.P. McDaniel could go to Boulder next and change the name of the Flatirons to Larry, Mo and Curly to honor the Stooges. That would be just as fitting because Larry Fine was from the great city of Boulder and indeed already has a park named after him.
The people of Boulder would not like that much because the Flatirons define that area and the memories of those mountains should forever remain the same.
Since J.P. McDaniel lives in Littleton, I believe it is hard for her to understand how the locals feel about Mount Sopris and why we defend it. Mount Sopris shines on the Roaring Fork Valley, not Littleton, and locals will not be a vocal minority. Although it stands inside Pitkin County, its splendor is valleywide.
There is no formal process to stop this petition, so the Naming Committee will seek comment from the Pitkin County commissioners. Contact them today at 920-5200 and voice your disapproval. Surely, we can see her 3,000 signatures and raise her 10,000 or even more.
I recognize John Denver’s contribution. My family gathered round for his TV show and bought his albums. But, I believe the “other side” of John Denver doesn’t resemble absolute beauty, as the naming of any peak on Mount Sopris should.
There are other ways to show our gratitude. How about a new cocktail named Rocky Mountain High Ball, or perhaps, Sunshine Wheat On My Shoulders, or better yet, Thank God I’m A Country Boozer?
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