Sep 15, 2023 - News

Mount Evans officially renamed to Mount Blue Sky

Mount Evans and Summit Lake in Clear Creek, Colorado, on Sept. 12. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

Mount Evans will be known as Mount Blue Sky after a federal panel on Friday approved the name change.

Details: The U.S. Board on Geographic Names voted 15-1 to change the mountain's name name during its scheduled meeting, which was held both in-person and virtually. Three board members abstained

  • The peak is located in Clear Creek County.

Why it matters: The decision largely settles the controversy over the 14ers original name, which came from Colorado territorial Gov. John Evans, who refused to criticize the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864.

Between the lines: Evans' response to the massacre involving U.S. troops ambushing and killing more than 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people was largely indifferent, according to a 2014 study from Northwestern University.

Catch up quick: After the George Floyd protests in Denver called attention to removing names associated with racists history, Gov. Jared Polis established the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board in July 2020.

  • The board was responsible for providing name recommendations to the federal geographic names panel.
  • Changing Mount Evans was among the suggestions. But those plans stalled in March after Northern Cheyenne tribal administrator William F. Walks Along raised concerns about calling it Mount Blue Sky, per CPR.
  • That led to a meeting between tribal leaders this summer with a federal Interior Department member to discuss the new name, which ultimately landed on Blue Sky.

Of note: The two Native American reservations in Colorado, the Southern Ute Indian tribe and Ute Mountain Ute tribe, supported the name change, according to the federal panel.


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