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Colorado governor signs executive order creating geographic naming board

The board will evaluate name controversies, among other things, and make recommendations to Gov. Jared Polis.

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) signed an executive order Thursday that creates the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board.

The board will evaluate proposals and applications concerning name changes, new names and name controversies of geographic features and public places in Colorado, the order says.

“This new board will play a critical role in the ongoing celebration of our Colorado history through place names and ensure that we have inclusivity and transparency around the naming process,” said Polis. “This bi-partisan board will ensure that a broad spectrum of Coloradans, local communities, and Colorado’s land-based Tribes can collaborate on any potential naming or renaming of Colorado geological points or landmarks.” 

The board will make naming and name change recommendations to the governor, according to the executive order.

A portion of the executive order says, “the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board (Board) will assist and cooperate with the United States Board on Geographic Names (USBGN) by evaluating all proposals concerning name changes, new names, and name controversies of geographic features and certain public places in the State of Colorado (State) and then making official recommendations to the Governor. The USBGN has final approval authority for place naming for federal maps and products.”   

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The naming board will be made of up to 15 members and may include:

  • The Executive Director of History Colorado or his or her designee
  • Three representatives from the Colorado General Assembly, two of which must represent each of the major political parties.
  • Two representatives of local governments.
  • One representative from the Colorado Commission for Indian Affairs.
  • One representative from the Center of the American West.
  • One representative from the Colorado Geological Survey.
  • One representative from the tourism and outdoor recreation industry.
  • Two representatives who have a background in race or ethnic studies or who are from an institution of cultural learning that focuses on traditionally underrepresented or displaced communities.
  • The Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources or his or her designee.
  • The Executive Director of the Department of Local Affairs or his or her designee.
  • The Director of the Colorado Tourism Office or his or her designee.

At first, appointments to the board will be for two-year or four-year terms.

After that, members will serve four-year terms.

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