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Identity mix-up could prompt name change for X Lake, Y Lake

by Lorien Nettleton ~ May 11th, 2012

Three lakes in Talkeetna have names that aren’t really names – they’re letters. Currently known as X, Y and Z lakes, the trio of water bodies have been an item of confusion, occasional derision, and frequent ambivalence since the day a map-maker identified each of them with just a single letter.But on about 50 percent of maps, X lake and Y lake are swapped. Two people could stand side by side on a canoe dock, and if they had differing maps, their argument about whether they were at X or Y could be confounding. But the inconsistency could do more than fuel a spat between friends.

The fishing regulations at each lake are different, and an angler believing they were within the law would still have to face the citation should they be issued one.

The names pose a problem for emergency responders as well. If a rescue was necessary for someone at X lake, and the responders have a different map, they could show up at Y lake. The problem needs to be fixed.

The Talkeetna Parks Advisory Committee and the Upper Susitna Soil and Water Conservation District are testing the waters for changing the names of Lakes X, Y, and Z. They would like to know if the community has an interest in changing the names, and if so, what would be a suitable replacement?

The process of re-naming the lakes is a long one, and before any move is made to go through the trouble of filing an appeal with the State Office of History and Archaeology, The Soil and Water Conservation District is asking people for suggestions. If they get enough response, they’ll compile a list and present it back to the community.

2 Responses to Identity mix-up could prompt name change for X Lake, Y Lake

  1. Holly Stinson

    I’ve been told that X Lake (whichever one that might be, depending on your map!) got it’s name because it appears like an X from the air — and that Cliff Hudson gave it that name. So maybe one could be Cliff’s Lake or Hudson Lake? But then we’ll have other pilots vying to have one named after them and we could be opening a can of worms, so to speak.

  2. Rodney Hardy

    I oppose the idea of changing the names of these lakes and I do not agree with this article which states that their names “aren’t really names”. X Lake (the largest lake with the three islands) and Y Lake (also known as guardrail lake) were named in the past by local pilots because of their shapes. And although Z Lake is not in the shape of a letter, it just made sense to follow suite. Most of the locals are proud of the history of Talkeetna and are fed up with the newbies moving in from the lower 48 that think they have to change something. I am surprised that they aren’t already eyeing the name of the community just south of Talkeetna wanting to change its name as well! Most the time, it’s better to leave well enough alone. I believe that the proper thing to do here is just to get the correct map.

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