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Contact: Denise Shultz
The United States Board on Geographic Names, acting on a recommendation from the National Park Service, voted unanimously today to rename two features in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area from Coon Lake and Coon Creek to Howard Lake and Howard Creek. The action came after the National Park Service reexamined the historic record and uncovered previously overlooked evidence that placed a Nineteenth Century African American prospector at the lake.
In 1892 Wilson Howard made two mining claims at the lake that has been predominantly known as Coon Lake since the early 1900s. With the new evidence in hand, the National Park Service in October recommended that the U.S. Board on Geographic Names reconsider its 2009 decision not to change the names in honor of Mr. Howard.
"We're pleased that the board renamed these features for Wilson Howard," said Karen Taylor-Goodrich, Superintendent for the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, which administers Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. "We rechecked the mining records for the area and took immediate action to rectify the situation. We will now begin the process of updating the maps and signs for the park."