Mount Blue Sky approved for federal use effective immediately
Date: Friday, September 15, 2023
WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today announced the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) has voted on the final replacement name for Mount Evans in Colorado. The 25-member Domestic Names Committee (DNC) voted to change the name to Mount Blue Sky for federal use after two nation-to-nation consultations and several years of consideration by state, county, local and Tribal governments.
The BGN received six formal proposals from 2019 to 2022 to rename Mount Evans, which was named after John Evans, the Territorial Governor of Colorado from 1862 to 1865. Evans has been closely linked to the Sand Creek Massacre. On November 29, 1864, U.S. soldiers attacked an encampment of approximately 750 Native people. As they fled, many were wounded and killed. Well over half of the 230 dead were women and children.
“The process undertaken by the Board on Geographic Names is an important part of the federal government’s commitments to Tribes and ensuring that all voices are heard. Each proposal is thoroughly reviewed and researched while gathering input from a variety of groups and individuals,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Michael Brain. “Names matter. How we identify our public lands is an important opportunity to be inclusive and welcoming, and to make a lasting impact for future generations.”
Mount Evans is located in Clear Creek County and along the boundary of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and in Mount Evans Wilderness. At an elevation of approximately 14,258 feet, the summit is the 14th highest peak in Colorado.
In considering the proposals, the BGN received input from dozens of interested associations and organizations, as well as support for the name “Mount Blue Sky” from nearly 75 organizations and hundreds of individuals. Upon Tribal request, the BGN held two Tribal consultations in June, to which Tribes expressing interest in the renaming process were invited.
During the vote today, the DNC also voted to change the name of Jeff Davis Creek in Montana to Doyavinai Baa O’ogwaide. The BGN received two formal requests to change the name because of its association with Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. Jeff Davis Peak just north of the stream was renamed to Three Eagles Peak.
The DNC of the BGN is responsible for standardizing the names of geographic features within the United States and its dependent areas. The DNC consists of members and deputies representing the Departments of the Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, Defense, and Homeland Security, as well as the United States Postal Service, Government Publishing Office and Library of Congress.
While the decisions of the BGN are effective immediately, a Tribe, member of the public or another interested party is allowed to propose a name change. All name changes are reflected in the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), the authoritative federal database. Federal agencies rely on the GNIS for the publication of map products or other services.