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How can I name an unnamed natural feature?

Proposals to name an unnamed natural feature can be submitted to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN). The BGN is responsible by law for standardizing geographic names throughout the Federal Government and has developed policies governing issues such as commemorative naming, derogatory and offensive names, names in wilderness areas, long names, commercial names, and animal names. 

Please note that no feature can be named for a living person. A potential honoree must have been deceased for at least five years and must have had either a direct and long-term association with the feature or must have made notable civic contributions. 

Generally, the most important policy regarding names is local use and acceptance. Upon receipt of a proposal, all interested parties will be asked to comment. The BGN makes decisions only after receiving recommendations from the Tribal, county, and local governments; the State Names Authority; and appropriate land management agencies. Only name proposals for natural features will be accepted. 

Please read the Principles, Policies, and Procedures and then submit proposals for name changes by completing theDomestic Geographic Names form. An information packet and form can be mailed upon request. The entire process is free of charge but will take a minimum of six months. For more information, send an email to

Learn more:  Guidance on Name Proposals