President Obama has signed into law the bill that puts Ted Stevens' name on Alaska’s highest unnamed peak as well as on a portion of an icefield.
The bill, sponsored by Alaska’s Congressional delegation, names the 13,895-foot peak in the Alaska Range in Denali National Park and Preserve “Mount Stevens.” The bill also gives the name “Ted Stevens Icefield” to a portion of the northern Chugach National Forest that includes seven glaciers. At 8,340 square miles, that newly named icefield is more than five times the size of Rhode Island.
These honors are among the latest given to Stevens, who loomed so large in the Great Land that the state legislature recognized him as “Alaskan of the Century” in 2000 and newspapers referred to federal funding as “Stevens money” without using quotation marks. As detailed by the Anchorage Daily News in 2008, physical entities in the 49th State bearing the name of the longest-serving Republican U.S. Senator ever include:
• Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, which is not only the state’s largest but the world’s third busiest for cargo as measured by tonnage moved;
• Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute, an office and laboratory building in Juneau that is the state’s largest fisheries research facility;
• Ted and Catherine Stevens Center for Science and Technology Education, part of the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai; and
• The Stevens Family Chalet at the Hilltop Ski Area in Anchorage.
One final note: Ted Stevens had an extensive and far-reaching impact, but--contrary to a column published in 2008 by The Economist--there does not appear to be a federal penitentiary named after him. The legendary reach of the long-time Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee must have temporarily blinded the distinguished British-based magazine. Not everything you read in the media is accurate, whether it’s in traditional print or on the Internet.