U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis introduced legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso, to protect the name of one of northeast Wyoming’s most recognizable landmarks: Devils Tower National Monument.
Despite the monument being known as Devils Tower since the late 1800s, efforts have been made in recent years to change the name of the well-known landmark, according to a Feb. 18 release from Lummis’ office.
Lummis’ bill, introduced on Jan. 22, serves to block any potential name change of the monument and national park.
It stands in opposition to petitioners with the National Park Service who have been fighting for a name change since 2005, per the release. Those against the name as-is call it offensive to over 20 American Indian tribes who view the landmark as sacred ground.
Lummis doesn’t see it that way, arguing the monument’s name has been in use far too long for it to be changed this late in the game.
“Devils Tower is one of the most iconic sights In Wyoming,” Lummis said. “It’s the first national monument in the United States, and a place of significance for everyone who sees it, from the tourists who visit to the native peoples and Wyoming residents who live nearby.”
The National Park Service has no authority to change the name. Instead, the matter falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.
With the introduction of Lummis’ bill, the board is prevented from changing the name as the bill is under consideration by Congress.
Therefore, whether the bill becomes law or not, the name cannot be changed.
The monument attracts more than half a million visitors each year, serving as an important part of the state and regional economy, the release stated.
“Devils Tower is well known across the country and around the world as a historical and cultural landmark, and it is critical that we maintain its legacy and its name,” Lummis said.
In the past, similar legislation was introduced by former U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.