Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Committee Statement on H.R. 1192 - Renaming Mammoth Peak in Yosemite National Park in honor of Jessie Benton Fremont

February 26, 2014

Committee Statement on HR 1192
Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation

February 26, 2014

HR 1192 renames Mammoth Peak in Yosemite National Park in honor of Jessie Benton Fremont.  It comes to us from the National Parks Promotion Council with the support of the El Dorado County Historical Society and other local historians from throughout the region, to recognize this pioneer who played a significant role in the establishment of Yosemite National Park.  The National Parks Promotion Council exists to promote the national parks as a premier tourist destination.

The testimony in support of HR 1192 makes the strong historical case for the bill, which I will not repeat.  I do want to address the administration’s opposition to the bill. 

The Park Service opposes this bill because, they say, there is no “compelling justification for the recognition and a strong direct association between the landscape feature and the person being commemorated.”

What nonsense.   It is well established that Jessie Benton Fremont was one of the earliest and most influential advocates for establishing the Yosemite National Park, in which Mammoth Peak is located.  Other persons who had lesser or comparable roles in the establishment of Yosemite are all commemorated – Horace Greeley, Carlton Watkins, Thomas Starr King and U.S. Senators John Conness and Edward Baker.  The precedent for naming features within the park for those who were instrumental in establishing the park is well established.  In fact, the Park Service opposition to this bill is a radical departure from that precedent.

Furthermore, the current name Mammoth has absolutely no historic significance.  That name was conferred on the peak because it was big.  That’s it.  The Park Service insists that there should be a strong historical connection in a commemorative naming, yet rejects the commemoration in honor of Jessie Benton Fremont whose influence in creation of the park is well documented and the precedent well established, in favor of maintaining the current name that has absolutely no historic significance whatsoever.  That makes the Park Service opposition absolutely laughable.  

One other point.  We’ve all heard of Mammoth Mountain.  It’s a major ski resort in California a few hours’ drive OUTSIDE of Yosemite National Park.  The Mammoth peak we’re referring to is INSIDE Yosemite, and if you find that confusing, so too do many tourists.  To continue to use the same name for a mountain peak INSIDE of Yosemite National Park is indeed confusing and repetitive, especially when a historically significant name is being proposed by local historians and park supporters.


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