The Washington State Committee on Geographic Names approved place names for a point in Olympia and a beach in Blyn in Clallam County, and approved other place names for final consideration during their meeting Friday morning at the Natural Resources Building.


Here are brief summaries of the proposals that were approved after their final consideration:


Howard Point: The proposal would officially name a point along East Bay in Olympia for Alexander and Rebecca Howard, who moved to the area in 1859 and operated a prominent hotel in Olympia. The Howards, one of the first black families to settle in the area, are buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Olympia. The name “Howard Point” had been used in maps of the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s.


Littleneck Beach: The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe proposed to name the beach near Blyn for the clams that are harvested there. The site was known as the “log yard” by local residents until the 1990s because a log rafting facility had been there. The Tribe began purchasing the land in the late 1990s and restored the area in 2004. The beach is one of the few native colonies of littleneck clams in Washington.


Names approved by the committee are forwarded to the Board of Natural Resources (acting as the Washington State Board on Geographic Names) for final decision. Names approved by the Board are published in the Washington Administrative Code and forwarded to the United States Board on Geographic Names for federal consideration along with the state’s recommendations.


Here are brief summaries of the proposals that were approved for final consideration:


Saddle Gap and Saddle Rock: The proposal would rename a gap above Wenatchee in Chelan County from “Squaw Saddle” to “Saddle Gap,” and name the highest part of the feature, which is currently unnamed. The name “Saddle Rock” is in common use in the area, and Native Americans consider the current name for the saddle to be derogatory.


Traitors Islet: The proposal would fix an error in naming of an islet in Grays Harbor County, which was originally named “Traitors Islet” but a naming error in a map has seen it recorded as “Traitors Inlet.”


Names approved for final consideration by the committee are opened for more public comment before the next meeting.


Web links

Summaries of each proposal, its location, proponents and opportunities to comment are on the DNR website at:


Washington State Committee on Geographic Names

The seven-member committee of volunteers advises the State Board on Geographic Names, which is authorized by state law to establish the official names for the lakes, mountains, streams, places, towns, and other geographic features. The committee, which meets at least twice a year, is chaired by a representative of Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. The committee includes representatives of Washington State tribes, the State Librarian, and the Director of the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, a Washington state tribal representative, and three members from the public appointed by Franz.


About DNR 

Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, DNR manages more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation, and aquatic lands. Of these, more than half are held in trust to produce income to support public schools, universities, prisons, and other state institutions. State trust lands managed by DNR provide other public benefits, including outdoor recreation, habitat for native fish and wildlife, and watersheds for clean water.