President Barack Obama announced that he will change Mt. McKinley's name back to Denali. The Alaskan mountain is North America's highest peak, but ever since 1896, it has been known as Mt. McKinley.

As the story goes, a gold prospector in Alaska was so excited that William McKinley was nominated for president that he decided to rename the mountain in the candidate's honor. McKinley served as president from 1897 until 1901, when he was assassinated.

A 40-Year Battle Comes to an End

The name change was never sanctioned by Alaska's Native American population, which had been calling the mountain Denali for centuries before any American settlers arrived. Denali means "the High One," and the Alaskan government has officially referred to the peak as Denali since 1975. Alaska has been asking the federal government to restore the mountain's original name since that time, but until today, the fed has dragged its feet.

Obama Wants to Bring More Attention to Global Warming

Obama says that he decided to rename the mountain in an effort to bring more attention to global warming. The name change comes just before the president will tour Alaska, which the president is calling the "ground-zero" of climate change. In Alaska, one can find receding glaciers, rising ocean levels and other symptoms of elevated carbon emissions. According to the Obama administration, they plan to use the final 16 months of the president's term to push for new environmental protection laws.

Even though Alaskans have been trying to get McKinley's name changed for 40 years, they have been blocked by Ohio politicians in Congress who see the mountain's name as a tribute to the state. President McKinley was an Ohio politician.

Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski praised Obama's decision to rename the mountain by saying, "I'd like to thank the president for working with us to achieve this significant change to show honor, respect, and gratitude to the Athabascan people of Alaska."