‘Wapiti Peak’ floated for Kit Carson

Courier photo by John Waters Saguache County Commissioners will recommend the name of Kit Carson Peak be changed to Wapiti Peak to the Colorado Geographic Naming Board. The peak is near these peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Saguache County Commissioners unanimously suggest the change

SAGUACHE — The Native American name for elk, “wapiti,” is the name the Saguache County Commissioners unanimously voted upon Tuesday, May 7, as the new name for Kit Carson Peak.

The name change is under consideration because some find Carson's interactions with Native Americans objectionable. Carson was a frontiersman and Commander of Fort Garland.

Wapati Peak will be submitted by the county to the Colorado Geographic Naming Board for consideration as a new name for the 14,171-foot peak located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Currently, the board has several names under consideration for the peak.

If the state board decides to rename Kit Carson, it will make that recommendation to the federal U.S. Board on Geographic Names which has final renaming authority. The state board also has the option to keep the current name without any changes

During the commissioners meeting several names were discussed for the rename, including a Spanish word for elk, the Spanish word for deer, and Saguache Peak (already taken).

"The name wapiti derives from a Shawnee and Cree word meaning white rump for elk," said Commissioner Liza Marron.

Commissioner Tom McCracken said, "I move that we make the suggestion "Wapiti," to the naming board for the large flat-top mountain that is now designated Kit Carson Peak."

In other business, the commissioners also accepted the resignation of Bobby Woelz from the Office of Emergency Management and appointed David Frese as interim. McCracken said of Woelz, "I would just like to say we appreciate his service to the county and he did a really good job."

The Crestone Food Bank set to reopen on May 30 after a long hiatus was also discussed and Commissioner Thompson said she would like to tour the facility before it opens.