As far as the State of Washington is concerned, the Strait of Georgia, Juan de Fuca Strait, and Puget Sound are now collectively known as the Salish Sea.
“The name is now official on all maps and publications published in the state of Washington,” Caleb Maki, executive secretary for the Washington State Board on Geographic Names, said today (October 30) in a phone interview.
Maki informed the Straight about the adoption of the place name immediately after the board cast a 5-1 vote on the application made by Bert Webber, a retired professor of environmental and marine science from Bellingham.
Webber has also made a similar application to the B.C. Geographical Names Office.
Maki noted that the Washington board has received a letter from the B.C. office stating that it recommends the adoption of the Salish Sea name by the Geographical Names Board of Canada, contingent on the approval of the name by the United States Board on Geographical Names.
“I’m guessing that to mean that they think it’s a great idea but they’re not going to apply it until the U.S. board weighs in,” Maki said of the B.C. office. “We’re done and I guess they’re waiting on the feds.”
The Washington board issued a press release today that states:
The Washington State Board on Geographic Names today approved a proposal to use ”˜Salish Sea’ as the collective name for the body of water that includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Georgia Strait.
The new designation does not change or eliminate the names of any of the several bodies of water within the Salish Sea on either side of the international border. It also mandates that cartographers must use Salish Sea on all maps or in all atlases. The term, which has been adopted by the British Columbia Geographical Names Office, is already used by scientists to describe the unified ecosystem and habitats of the inland waters.
The proponent of the proposal for an official geographical name to describe the entire body of water as the Salish Sea was Bert Webber, a retired professor of marine biology from Bellingham.
With the Board’s approval today, the state’s designation of Salish Sea as the name of the collective inland waters will be considered for adoption for federal use by the United States Board on Geographic Names. The Geographical Names Board of Canada has approved a resolution to adopt the name contingent on U.S. approval.
Salish is a term used by linguists to describe the peoples and languages of tribes in the Pacific Northwest.