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The U.S. Board on Geographic Names and a state advisory board have asked Clear Creek County for input in renaming Squaw Pass.

Thus, the county is looking for public input in the process before registering its opinion during an April 4 county commissioners meeting.

The pass is a geographic point within U.S. Forest Service Land along Highway 103. It is near the newly renamed Mestaa’ehehe Mountain.

In November, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland issued an order declaring ‘squaw’ a derogatory term and forming a task force to find replacement names for all federal sites bearing that name.

Thus, a new name for the pass is guaranteed, and locals have been asked what its replacement name should be.

During a March 15 county commissioners meeting, Commissioner Randy Wheelock explained how five names have been autogenerated for the pass based on the closest geographic features, including Mestaa’ehehe Mountain.

According to Jenny Runyon of the USBGN, these names are: Deadman Pass, Corral Pass, Beaver Pass, Vance Pass and Mestaa’ehehe Pass.

She said the Department of Interior could suggest other names as well, but at least those five are under consideration right now. If Clear Creek County has other ideas, it will have to formally suggest them.

“If it’s not on the list, it won’t be considered,” Runyon continued.

The county can support any of the five options or suggest its own by April 4, which is the deadline for the state advisory board. The USBGN’s deadline for public comment is April 24.

The commissioners liked Owl Woman Pass, which is the English name for Mestaa’ehehe, and Blue Sky Pass. However, they wanted to have time for public input and to consult stakeholders on other names that might have cultural and/or historical significance.

“It’s common, or even normal, for the pass to have a name completely different from the surrounding mountains,” Commissioner Sean Wood said. “The process that we did (for Mestaa’ehehe Mountain), part of it that I liked for sure, was getting input from a wide variety of stakeholders.”

Wheelock clarified how the Clear Creek County roads that share the pass’ name will have to be renamed in a separate process at the county level.

Written public comments to the county commissioners about renaming the pass can be sent to Beth Luther at bluther@clearcreekcounty.us.

Verbal public comments can be submitted at the April 4 meeting, although the timeframe is still being confirmed.