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Nevada says 'Yes,' but Feds might kill 'Mount Reagan'

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Interior,Ronald Reagan,Grover Norquist,Nevada

A drawn-out battle to name a Las Vegas mountain peak after former President Reagan has ended in the Gipper's favor in Nevada and now heads to Washington, where liberal protesters are expected to fight it.

Activists involved in the latest Reagan legacy project said they anticipate that the late Republican president’s foes will try to kill Nevada’s request just like they attempted to block the renaming of National Airport after Reagan in 1998.

But they are cautiously optimistic, having won this month in Nevada despite a last-minute opposition push against renaming the 4,052-foot peak of Frenchman Mountain “Mount Reagan.” The Nevada State Board on Geographic Names approved the change in a 5-2 vote. A similar effort died in 2010.

The campaign now moves to Washington and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, part of the Department of Interior. The obscure board is expected to address the request this year.

However, that board killed an earlier Mt. Reagan proposal passed by New Hampshire legislature and the national board over-ruled the Nevada board on naming a Lake Tahoe cove after Mark Twain recently.

Chuck Muth, head of the Mount Reagan Project, told Secrets, "Ronald Reagan is the only president to have performed professionally on the Las Vegas Strip, yet there is nothing of significance named after the Gipper in Las Vegas. What better remembrance than naming a mountaintop after the 40th president that looks down over perhaps the shiniest city in the land?"

Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, an adviser on the official Mount Reagan Project, said having a mountaintop named for Reagan is long overdue.

“More than ever, Americans are coming to appreciate Reagan’s greatness, especially after the failed presidencies which preceded him and followed him. So we reserved this privilege for our greatest presidents,” he told Secrets. “We don’t name landmarks and mountains and rivers after Fillmore or Nixon or Clinton. We name them after Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln and FDR and Ronald Reagan.”

Muth has been trying for years to get a mountaintop named for Reagan. His effort has been supported by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, who also heads the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.