Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Benson Peak
Beaverhead County, Montana

Status = Approved

Description summit, elevation 2,584 m (8,478 ft), at the SW end of the Ruby Range, 0.6 km (0.4 mi) W of the head of Sweetwater Creek; named for Arnold G. Benson (1907-1990), longtime area rancher, teacher, and active member of the community
Location 45°07’12”N, 112°27’54”W
PLSS Location Sec 21, T8S, R7W
Proposal new commemorative name for an unnamed feature
Proponent Ronald and Marilyn Benson; Dillon, MT
Administrative area None
Previous BGN Action None
See also 41401
GNIS ID 2434931
Local Usage None found
Published None found
The new commemorative name Benson Peak is proposed for a 2,584 m (8,478 ft) summit in Beaverhead County. The new name, submitted by members of the Benson family, would honor Arnold G. Benson (1907-1990), a longtime area rancher, teacher, and active member of the community. According to the application, “Arnold founded Parkview Acres Rest Home; he began the Youth Fair (now the county fair), founded the original stockyards in Beaverhead County, and instigated the Rancher’s Roundtable. He was honored as the Outstanding Stockman of Southwest Montana and also served on the county weed board. He was a teacher until he left that profession to ranch and farm. During the peak of his ranching profession he owned five ranches scattered throughout Beaverhead County, including a purebred Hereford operation known as Benson Ranches.” Although Benson Ranches was dissolved following Arnold Benson’s retirement in 1986, the proponent reports that she and her family continue to own the property and to use it for grazing.

The USGS topographic map shows a triangulation station named Gordon at the peak of the unnamed summit; however, the proponent, who has conducted extensive research into the history of the area, says she has no knowledge of any individual or family named Gordon having ever lived or ranched in the area. She speculates that the station name may refer to that of one of the crew members who surveyed the area in 1961. She reports that no one living in the area has ever known the summit to be named “Gordon Peak” or anything similar.

Letters of support for Benson Peak have been received from the Beaverhead County Weed Board, the Southwestern Montana Stockmen’s Association, the Director of Development and Alumni Affairs for the University of Montana Western Foundation, and Mr. Benson’s granddaughter. Senator Max Baucus and Congressman Denny Rehberg also submitted letters of support. The Beaverhead County Board of Commissioners also recommends approval of the name Benson Peak, as does the Montana State Geographic Names Authority. A copy of this proposal was sent to the Death Valley Timbisha Shoshone Band of California; the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community; the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians; and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, all of which are Federally-recognized Tribes, but no response was received, which is presumed to indicate a lack of an opinion to the name change.

Comments Received by the Montana Geographic Names Advisor
Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Support (Thursday, February 21, 2008)
Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Thursday, May 8, 2008
Domestic Names Committee Discussion - A motion was made and seconded to approve this new name.

Vote: 12 in favor
0 against
0 abstentions

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