Ready for the name “Salish Sea” to become official?May 18th, 2009 by cdunagan
It looks like the Washington State Board on Geographic Names likes the name “Salish Sea” when describing the inland waterway that includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
I wasn’t able to attend Friday’s hearing on the subject, but Caleb Maki, who staffs the board, told me that the board seems to support the name after hearing a lot of positive comments about it.
In fact the only negative comments, Maki said, seemed to be from people who thought the name “Salish Sea” would replace the name “Puget Sound” or take away something else familiar.
As we’ve discussed before in Water Ways, the proposal is not to take away any names but to add a new one when talking about the body of water that crosses the international border.
In an unofficial poll on this blog, folks were fairly evenly split between liking the name “Salish Sea” and seeing little or no use for it.
If people have strong feelings one way or the other, they should contact the board directly and their comments will be made part of the official record:
Washington State Board on Geographic Names
1111 Washington St. SE, PO Box 47030
Olympia, WA 98504-7030
Here’s the story I prepared for tomorrow’s Kitsap Sun:
‘Salish Sea’ Name Supported
Washington state could soon have a new official name for the entire inland waterway that includes Puget Sound in Washington, Georgia Strait in British Columbia, Canada, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates the two countries.
The Washington State Board on Geographic Names heard a proposal Friday to use “Salish Sea” as the name for the overall waterway. Caleb Maki, support staffer for the board, said board members seemed fairly supportive of the new name.
“Apparently people are using this term already, and we are not going to stop them,” he said.
Officially adopting the name “Salish Sea” does not change any existing names, he noted, and the name probably won’t appear on any Washington state maps, because it describes an area not fully contained within this state. It could be useful when talking about cross-boundary issues, however, he said.
Whether the U.S. Board on Geographic Names and its counterpart in Canada wish to adopt the name for wider usage is another issue, Maki said. They are expected to take up the question if the Washington board adopts the name.
Maki said he would send out letters seeking comments from various federal, state and local agencies and organizations. Based on support so far, the new name is likely to be adopted at the next meeting, probably in October.