Gov. Jared Polis renamed the Mountain Lion Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park the Rocky Mountain High Trail on Wednesday, paying homage to the 50th anniversary of John Denver’s iconic song.
“Here in Colorado, we’ve always known that our majestic mountains, our bright blue skies, our starlit nights and our forest and streams were the stuff of legends — but John Denver made them the stuff of song lyrics, too,” Polis said in a statement. “And not just any lyrics, but world-famous lyrics that span genres and generations.”
Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High,” released in 1972, is one of Colorado’s two state songs. The other is “Where the Columbines Grow” by Dr. Arthur John Flynn.
The Colorado legislature adopted “Rocky Mountain High” as Colorado’s second state song in 2007. Some objected to the change, stating concerns that the ballad references drug usage. Denver had clarified before, however, that the song’s reference to a “high” was in regards to nature rather than drugs.
Polis, in announcing the change, spoke of his first experience with the late singer-songwriter’s music.
“My parents took me to my first concert to see John Denver at Red Rocks in 1980 when I was 5, and I danced in the aisles and our family continues dancing to this day to John Denver’s incredible music,” he said in his statement. “As we continue to protect our environment and ensure Coloradans can thrive for generations to come, I am thrilled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of our state song ‘Rocky Mountain High’ in such a meaningful way.”
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