The Salish Sea

The approval Friday afternoon (Oct. 31) by the State Board on Geographic Names to designate the collective waters of Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Georgia Strait as the Salish Sea got broad press coverage around Washington, including the Seattle Times, Kitsap Sun, San Juan Journal, and the Spokane Spokesman-Review. The news also was reported around the nation [Baltimore Sun], in Canada [Vancouver Sun], internationally by the AFP news service, and in several blogs.

A clarification for some of the reports is that the use of Salish Sea is not mandated for nongovernment cartographers to use (unless they are making a map on a state contract, that is). There also is the concept of ‘cartographer’s privilege,’ meaning the cartographer designing the map decides whether the words “Salish Sea” will make sense to include or not. In other words, the map of your favorite inlet, cove, or bay on Puget Sound won’t need to include “Salish Sea.”

For those who want to read the Revised Code of Washington, here’s the section on geographic names: RCW 43.126. A list of the official names (‘Salish Sea’ is in the process of being added), with map coordinates and dates of adoption, are here, including Okanogan County’s own Hee Hee Mountain.

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