Mt. McKinley or Denali

Differnece between Mt. McKinley and Denali.

The Mt. McKinley and Mt. Denali Debate

In 1897 a prospector in Alaska named Mt. McKinley after soon to be President William McKinley of Ohio. The original McKinley National Park was created in 1917 which incorporated a portion of the mountain within its boundaries. In 1980, McKinley National Park was incorporated into a larger protected area called Denali National Park and Preserve.

For the next few decades there were ongoing attempts to officially rename the mountain to Denali, which means “the great one” in the Alaska native Athabascan dialect. In 1975, the Alaska Board of Geographic Names officially changed the name of mountain to Denali, but attempts to do the same at the federal level had been generally blocked by the Ohio legislative delegation… home state to former President McKinley. In 2015, just prior to his first visit to Alaska, President Obama took administrative action to finally and officially rename the mountain as Mt. Denali. There is an excellent article on the history of this debate here.