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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 promulgates policies governing issues such as commemorative naming, derogatory names, and names in wilderness areas. 

Please note that no natural feature (and certain manmade features) 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 local government, county government, the State Names Authority, and appropriate land management agencies. Only name proposals for natural features will be accepted.

Submit new name proposals by completing the Domestic Geographic Names form. The form includes instructions for submitting by email or postal mail.

Please read the Principles, Policies, and Procedures before submitting a proposal. An information packet and forms can be mailed upon request. The entire process is free of charge, but will take approximately six months. 

For more information, send an email to or see the BGN's "How Do I?"


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