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Alaska officials advance effort to name new lake after dog

March 7, 2019

SITKA, Alaska (AP) — Alaska officials have advanced an effort to name a new lake for a dog lost in the landslide that formed the body of water.

The Alaska Historical Commission recently approved a proposal to name the small body of water about 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Sitka as Luna Lake, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported Tuesday.

The proposal now requires the approval of the U.S. Board on Geographical Names.

Sitka residents Kevin Knox and Maggie Gallin were camping with their border collie Luna at the U.S. Forest Service cabin next to Redoubt Lake. A landslide happened in May 2013, burying the cabin under mud and debris.

Knox and Gallin ran away from the direct path of the slide. Knox said he last saw Luna nipping at his heels as they were running. The couple ended up in the lake among a tangle of trees that were swept off the mountainside. The couple searched for Luna, but she was never found.

The landslide blocked a stream to the lake, creating an adjacent 1-acre (0.4-hectare) body of water.

About six months after the landslide, Knox submitted the proposal to name the new lake for Luna. He learned guidelines stipulated a five-year wait, so he reactivated his application last year.

“Obviously it doesn’t change what happened to us and certainly doesn’t bring Luna back, but it’s a nice tribute to memorialize the event,” Knox said.

The federal board usually approves the state commission’s recommendations, said Joan Antonson, deputy state historic preservation officer.

Geographical features are not often named after pets, and guidelines discourage it, Antonson said.

In this case, there was little opposition, she said.

“It’s important to see there’s local support,” Antonson said. “There is local support, and not a great deal of objection.”


Information from: Daily Sitka (Alaska) Sentinel, http://www.sitkasentinel.com/

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