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How can I propose a name change for a natural feature?

Proposals to change the name of a natural feature can be submitted to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. There must, however, be a compelling reason to change it. The Board is responsible by law for standardizing geographic names throughout the Federal Government and discourages name changes unless necessary. Further, changing a name merely to correct or re-establish historical usage is not in and of itself a reason to change a name.

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 Board only makes decisions with 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.

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.

Submit proposals for name changes by printing and completing the Domestic Geographic Names form and mailing it to:

U.S. Board on Geographic Names
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive MS 523
Reston, VA 20192-0523

For more information, send an email to BGNEXEC@usgs.gov or visit the BGN's "How Do I?" website.

Learn more: U.S. Board on Geographic Names: Principles, Policies, and Procedures

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