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Salish Sea and Cupacoffee Creek

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Oct. 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
October 30, 2009 5:36 pm

“Salish Sea,” a felicitous name for the waters of the Northwest’s Salish Indians, has taken another step toward atlas status. Also check out the new names for four creeks; my favorite is “Cupacoffee Creek.”

October 30, 2009

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Board on Geographic Names today approved a proposal to use ‘Salish Sea’ as the collective name for the body of water that includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Georgia Strait.

The new designation does not change or eliminate the names of any of the several bodies of water within the Salish Sea on either side of the international border. It also mandates that cartographers must use Salish Sea on all maps or in all atlases. The term, which has been adopted by the British Columbia Geographical Names Office, is already used by some scientists to describe the unified ecosystem and habitats of the inland waters.

The proponent of the proposal for an official geographical name to describe the entire body of water as the Salish Sea was Bert Webber, a retired professor of marine biology from Bellingham.

With the Board’s approval today, the state’s designation of Salish Sea as the name of the collective inland waters will be considered for adoption for federal use by the United States Board on Geographic Names. The Geographical Names Board of Canada has approved a resolution to adopt the name contingent on U.S. approval.

Salish is a term used by linguists to describe the peoples and languages of tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

Board names creeks in four counties.

At today’s meeting the Board also approved the following as official names:

Clark County
Pleasant Creek – The name for this tributary to LaLonde Creek in Clark County was chosen by the proponent to reflect the quiet and peaceful nature of the area surrounding the creek.

Kitsap County
Jump Off Creek – During the 1920’s, an original settler of the area, Sven Lalander, was working on a bridge to cross this creek. During construction, Mr. Lalander’s scaffolding failed him, and he had to leap to safety. Since then, local residents have called it, Jump Off Creek. Recently, a sign was placed on the creek identifying it as “Jump Off Joe Creek.” The proponent felt this confusion was caused by the several Jump Off Joe Creeks elsewhere in Washington State.

Lewis County
Cupacoffee Creek – This small tributary to Coffee Creek was chosen by the proponent for two reasons: to reflect the small size of the creek and the presence of tannins that cause the water to have a coffee color.

Mason County
Hoke Creek – The proponent wished to honor the Hoke family, original settlers of the area around 1900. The Hoke family built their own small schoolhouse, the foundation of which exists to this day.

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