Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change Grob Lake to Wilderness Lake
Lincoln County, Montana

Status = Denied

Description lake, 30 acres, located in the Tobacco Plains, 1.6 km (1 mi) E of Lake Koocanus, 8 km (5 mi) NW of Eureka; named for The Wilderness Club, a resort community established adjacent to the lake
Location 48°55’56”N, 115°08’12”W
PLSS Location Secs 32&29, T37N, R27W
Proposal to change a name to recognize the establishment of a new community
Proponent James Cole; Eureka, MT
Not Grob Lake
Administrative area None
Previous BGN Action None
See also
GNIS ID 784361
Local Usage Grob Lake (Montana Dept of Natural Conservation and Resources, 2006; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 1994; hiking website), Wilderness Lake (community developers)
Published Grob Lake (USGS 1963, 1979, 1997; USFS 1978, 1985, 2004; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2006; Census Bureau 2000; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 2004; Lincoln County highway map, 1958)
This proposal is to change officially the name of Grob Lake, located in north-central Lincoln County, to Wilderness Lake. The lake in question has an area of approximately 30 acres and lies just east of Koocanus Lake. The existing name has appeared on Federal maps since 1963 and was also labeled on the 1958 Lincoln County highway map, but the new owners of the property, a development company based in Eureka, have asked that it be renamed in recognition of the new resort community that is being constructed at the lake. The new community is named Wilderness Club, and upon completion in 2008 is expected to comprise 272 homesites and 47 luxury cabins, along with a golf course, canoe club, and nature camp. Although it has not been determined when the lake’s current name first came into local use, there is some evidence that there was a family named Grob living in Lincoln County in the 1950’s. The name Grob Lake also appears at the websites of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

When asked to comment on the proposed name change, the Lincoln County Commissioners responded with a letter of opposition, stating, “Grob Lake has a lot of historical significance to the Eureka area. It was named after a family that lived in the area for many years. Although this name change may help the developers of the resort community make their development more attractive, we are strongly against the change.” The Montana Geographic Names Authority, citing the county’s opposition and a concern that “changing names for business purposes sets a bad precedent,” also does not endorse the proposal. A copy of the proposal was forwarded to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation; and the Kalispel Indian Community, all of which are Federally-recognized. Of these, only the Kalispel Community responded, with a letter indicating that the lake falls outside its ceded lands. The lack of response from the other two Tribes is presumed to indicate a lack of an opinion on the issue. According to GNIS, there are no other lakes in Montana named Wilderness Lake, but there are two small bodies of water in Valley County, approximately 620 km (385 mi) away, named Wilderness Reservoir.

Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Oppose (Wednesday, January 30, 2008)
Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Thursday, March 13, 2008
Domestic Names Committee Discussion - A motion was made and seconded not to approve this change, citing a lack of local and State support and in the belief that there was no justification for changing a long-standing commemorative name.

Vote: 10 in favor
0 against
0 abstentions

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