Lake in Chelan County gets new name instead of racist one

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A lake in Chelan County will be renamed in honor of an African American prospector to replace its racist label.

The lake will be changed from Coon Lake to Howard Lake, in honor of the prospector who lived in the area in the 1890s.

Several years ago, a Seattle resident who spends time in Chelan Country petitioned the Washington State Board on Geographic Names to change the name of the 15-acre lake.

The state board voted for the change, but because the lake and a subsidiary stream are in the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, they needed an agreement from the National Park Service. Federal officials resisted the change at first.

State Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, pushed the idea forward with help from other lawmakers and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's office. Jayapal says she received a letter this week announcing the National Park Service had agreed to the name change.

"The time is right to correct this historical wrong," Murray said.