The spelling of Riser Lake may be changed to Rizeor to match the spelling of Jack Rizeor, who had a homestead at the lake in the late 19th century.
Methow Valley resident — and avid birder and hiker — Scott Stluka proposed the change after some historical research. He learned that Rizeor farmed and raised fruit and melons that he irrigated with the lake.
The Washington State Committee on Geographic Names approved the first phase of Stluka’s proposal at its April 7 meeting. Now the committee is soliciting comments and local support to review when they take up final consideration at their next meeting in July.
If the board approves the proposal, they will make a recommendation to the Board on Geographic Names for final approval.
The committee also considered a proposal from Mazama resident Austin Smith to rename a ridge near Black Canyon. Smith proposed renaming the ridge Black Canyon Ridge for the nearby creek, to replace its current name, Squaw Creek Ridge.
The committee considered renaming 18 features across the state, all of which used the term “squaw,” which is considered a derogatory term for Indigenous women. The effort came at the direction of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which recommended changing derogatory place names across the country.
The committee voted to defer initial consideration of the proposal for that ridge because the Yakama Nation had also submitted a possible proposal with a new name, said committee Executive Secretary Caleb Maki.
Both proposals will be considered at the committee’s meeting on July 26 at 10 a.m.
For more information or to comment on either name, email firstname.lastname@example.org.