Washington state puts Salish Sea on the map

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Larry Pynn

You’ve probably never heard of it, but you will likely find it on a map soon.

The Washington state Board on Geographic Names on Friday approved the name Salish Sea as a new official placename.

The move has the backing of B.C.’s member on the Washington board’s Canadian counterpart.

The Salish Sea name honours the region’s aboriginal people and recognizes the shared marine ecosystem, comprised of the protected waters of the Strait of Georgia, Juan de Fuca Strait and Puget Sound.

Caleb Maki, executive secretary of the Washington board, said in an interview from Olympia he received a letter from Janet Mason, the B.C. member of the Geographical Names Board of Canada, with the recommendation the board “endorse the name Salish Sea in principle, with the view to adopting the name as a joint decision with the United States Board on Geographic Names, if upcoming deliberations by USBGN are conclusive.”

Mason’s letter states the name has “extensive positive support,” including from first nations, and does not replace any existing place names but is meant only to represent a “collective name for the entire inland waters.”

The U.S. board could hear the matter in November.

Bert Webber, a retired Western Washington University marine biologist, is the driving force behind the name.

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