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Mount Clay Remains Mount Clay
A federal agency has decided today not to rename New Hampshire’s Mount Clay after the country’s 40th president.
NHPR Correspondent Chris Jensen has the story.
In 2003 the state legislature officially changed the name of Mount Clay to Mount Reagan.
The decision was the result of a nationwide effort to name at least one notable place in each state after former President Ronald Reagan.
But the federal government did not recognize the re-naming on federal maps and documents.
Then, earlier this year a New Hampshire man asked the federal government to follow suit.
But that is not going to happen.
The United States Board on Geographic Names rejected the request.
“The proposal to change the name of Mount Clay to Mount Reagan was disapproved at a vote of 11 against and one absention.”
That’s Lou Yost. He’s the Executive Secretary of the board’s Domestic Names Committee.
“It was no reflection on President Reagan, it is just that the board does not like changing names.”
The board’s decision means that most map makers will stick with Mount Clay.
For months the board accepted comments.
Most were against the name change.
That included about 160 emails.
One theme was that the names of peaks should not be changed just because one party or another controls the state house.
Another argument was that President Reagan wasn’t known for being a conservationist and didn’t deserve the honor.
Those who favored the change argued that Henry Clay, the famous 19th century orator from Kentucky, was not a president and didn’t deserve a peak in The Presidentials.
Meanwhile, they said, Reagan was a great president “who understood the true spirit of America.”
Local Governments that favored the change included the select boards of Carroll and Jefferson as well as the Coos County Commissioners.
The New Hampshire State Names Authority declined to comment on what it called “the appropriateness of the change.”
But it did note that since 2003 when the state changed the name “there has been virtually no use of the term Mount Reagan.”
Even state highway maps still refer to it as Mount Clay.
The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) was asked to comment on the issue, but didn’t say one way or the other.
The federal board was responding to a request from Michael Harrington.
As a representative from Strafford he sponsored the original legislation in 2003.
He could not be reached for comment.
For NHPR News this is Chris Jensen