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Geologic Publications for Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park place names

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Author(s): Gary F. Reese

Document Type: Unpublished Report
Publisher: Mount Rainier National Park
Published Year: 2009
Pages: 146
DOI Identifier:
ISBN Identifier:

Because of its prominence as the "Great Mountain of the Pacific Northwest" Rainier was one of the first features in the Pacific Northwest named by early explorers. The center of a National Park since 1899 most prominent features around the mountain have received names, some of which have become official and some of which a common use.

In 1919 Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Roger Toll wrote about names in the National Park:

"The park service is interested in having names applied to the various...scenic points that are now unnamed....the most desirable names...are the original Indian names, or, if these are too long and unpronounceable their English equivalents are often very good.

"If no original name can be found, and a name is to be supplied, the Indian names may be drawn upon with advantage, but this should be done by an expert...Descriptive names are good. The only thing most difficult to avoid is the indiscriminate naming of scenic features after persons."

While name origins have been found for many locations within the National Park there are a number of places for which origins are missing, especially on the northern side of the mountain. In 1916 Edmond S. Meany wrote about Mount Rainier. He listed many places for which he could not find a name origin.

In 1932 the writers of the Encyclopedia of Information on Mount Rainier National Park made a list of locations on the mountain recording that they were unable to supply origins for numbers of them.

Books on mountain climbing record names for locations that are more extensive than usual for they name each part of a particular feature as it is climbed as destination point.

On December 9, 1977, the Washington Board of Geographic Names approved a series of proposals developed by Dee Molenaar and others which provided names for a number of locations on the Gibraltar route to the summit of Mount Rainier. Locations such as Little Africa, Moon Rocks, and Kautz Ice Fall have been officially entered into name origin literature.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Reese (2009) or (Reese, 2009)

References Citation:
Reese, G.F., 2009, Mount Rainier National Park place names: Unpublished Report, Mount Rainier National Park, 146 p..