Social Question

majorrich's avatar

Can the president re-name anything just by the stroke of a pen?

Asked by majorrich (14741points) August 31st, 2015

Looking at my news feed and saw Mt.McKinley is now to be called the Mountain formerly known as McKinley but now it’s Denali. I’ve been Googling around trying to find name changing powers of the president and I must be inept at wording my queries. Is it actually possible for a president if so inclined to re-name the Grand Canyon to like ‘Arizona Butt-Crack’ or New Jersey to ‘Tummy Button’ just on his signature? What other monuments could he change names if he is actually allowed to.

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22 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Read the whole article that you didn’t link to.

The quick answer is “no” he can’t, but in this case, the Bureau of Geographic Names had sat on this request for 40 years, and the president has the power to take an executive action in the absence of prompt action by the agency.

So yes, in this case, the president has the power, but not in all cases.

zenvelo's avatar

The Authority by Act of Congress lies with the U. S. Board on Geographic Names, under the Department of the Interior.

The Board made the recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior, who made the decision..

Dutchess_III's avatar


The Alaskan’s call it Mt. Denali, and have been requesting a name change for 40 years. “The name change follows a longstanding Alaskan effort to re-designate the mountain by its Athabascan name. In 1975 Alaska’s governor formally requested that the secretary of the interior work to change the name, following a resolution from the Alaska State Legislature.”

The state of Ohio, where McKinley is from, has been resisting the change.

Further, McKinley never even visited Alaska.

It’s what the Alaskan people want, and it’s their mountain.

majorrich's avatar

It was a rolling text at the top of the page on CNN, I don’t have an article to link it to. I just started looking for like ‘Wow he can do that?’ information.

majorrich's avatar

I was sure there was more to the story than the one sentence blurb. As this is this is in the social section, I suggest we rename Oklahoma “West Point” by virtue of it’s westerly pointing finger shape, and Michigan to “Half and Half” by virtue of the two halves of the state. Badlands National Park to “Bad place to be a Blonde General National park” and Louisiana to “Hot, But a miserable sticky kind of hot”

DoNotKnow's avatar

Strange. I had always thought is was called Denali. That’s how I always heard it referred to.

majorrich's avatar

Denali just makes me think of Moose Tracks ice cream. Yummmmm!

Darth_Algar's avatar

Jesus Christ. Obama did not rename anything here. The United States Department of the Interior did (as is their authority), following 40 years of efforts by the state of Alaska (since the mountain is actually located in Alaska, not fucking Ohio, which has been opposing the name change for 40 years). The president is simply “officially” announcing the name change. Sometimes it really, really helps to read beyond the headlines.

majorrich's avatar

The announcement came as Obama changes name of mountain.. or words to that effect and a little blurb about McKinley. Headlines on the news sites as cited above all start with ‘Obama changes the name of mountain’ If they credit him with changing the name I took it as a que to do the google search and then see if anyone had any other neat ideas legal or not.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Like I said: sometimes it helps to read beyond the headlines (which are always designed to be as sensationalist as possible).

majorrich's avatar

Oh. It’s you Darth, I forgot your lack of a sense of humor. Never mind.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Humor typically involves wit, something this thread is devoid of.

majorrich's avatar

Then Add some. Don’t be a grumpy gus.

majorrich's avatar

I’m waiting. Trolololol….. can’t come up with any wit yet? Trolololol….....

Buttonstc's avatar


No, you’ve got MI wrong. Just look at it on the map. Obviously it should be renamed The Mitten :)

And the U. P. should either be it’s own state or merged with Wisconsin (or donated to Canada since it’s so frickin’ cold anyway.)

Brian1946's avatar

The highest point in Ohio is named Campbell Hill, which is only 18,770 feet shorter than Mt. Denali. ;-o

Perhaps those Ohioans who are whining about Denali finally being named in accordance with native Alaskan wishes, can instead change the name of their own prominence to McKinley Mound.

majorrich's avatar

I believe the indigenous American name for that hill is roughly translated “Mole on Nose”

rojo's avatar

As far as I can recall I have always called it Denali since I became aware it existed.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Ohio is suffering from Denali Denial.

msh's avatar

Speaking for fellow Ohioans:
For crying out loud!
This is such a political party hoo-ha!
This President – McKinley- was assasinated. Yeah. Very sad. Not the reason.
Ohio wanted to move it’s state capital from Columbus to the peak of Mount McKindanali because of the summer temps here in Ohio, suck.
Silver miners and explorers ( the only politicians present at that time- the lucky stiffs! ) had a throw-down jamboree and the winning side got to call whatever they wanted: whatever. (secretly, the spork was first used here, so thusly- it was named also- but don’t quote me!)
Red tape name changes cost a lot of $.......and the colored tape isn’t cheap either! yep- A lot.
And all those already printed t-shirts to be sold to tourists left over! Tsk!
Politicians posturing once again, yep. A lot.
The envy we Ohioans feel because we have NEVER been able to “see the Russians from our house” made us do it.
The Ohio State Fair is over, and Football hasn’t really started up yet- uhn-huhn- we’re bored.

As reparation: take our govenor! PLEASE!

Call it what the ALASKAN ORIGINAL NATIVES wish it to be called…go for it.
The Ohio State University National Football Buckeyes Championship Winners is already taken, however…

msh's avatar


No, seriously- TAKE the Governor!

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