PROPOSE OR CHANGE A NAME

Name an unnamed natural feature

Proposals to name an unnamed natural feature may be submitted to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. The Board 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 human-created features) may 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.

Upon receipt of a proposal, all interested parties will be asked to comment. The Board makes decisions only after receiving recommendations from the local government, county government, the State Names Authority (in 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 2 Territories), and appropriate land management agencies. Only name proposals for natural features will be accepted.

Submit a proposed name change using the Domestic Geographic Names form.  Mail the form to:

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

Alternatively, the online version of the Domestic Geographic Names form may be used. Please read the Principles, Policies, and Procedures in the Main Menu to the left 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 contact the  Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Manager.



Propose to change the name of a natural feature

Proposals to change the name of a natural feature may be submitted to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. To change a name, there must be a compelling reason. The Board discourages name changes unless necessary. Further, the Board states that "changing a name merely to correct or re-establish historical usage is not in and of itself a reason to change a name."

Names evolve, and even through cartographic recording errors, become established in the local vernacular. Geographic names usually are well established on maps, other documents, and on signs. Although any approved name change will be reflected immediately in the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), maps, other documents, and signs will only be changed during the normal revision cycle.

The Board on Geographic Names promulgates policies governing issues such as commemorative naming, derogatory names, and names in wilderness areas. Generally, the most important policy is local use and acceptance. Please note that no natural feature (and certain human-made features) may 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.

Upon receipt of a proposal, all interested parties will be asked to comment. The Board makes decisions only with recommendations from the local government, county government, the State Names Authority (in 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 2 Territories), and appropriate land management agencies. Only name proposals for natural features will be accepted.

Submit a proposed name change using the Domestic Geographic Names form.  Mail the form to:

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

Alternatively, the online version of the form may be used. Please read the Principles, Policies, and Procedures in the Main Menu to the left 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 contact the  Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Manager.