New name proposed for Grays Harbor pass

A new name has been proposed for an Olympic National Forest mountain pass in north Grays Harbor County to honor the late David “Burlap” Rabey.

The state Committee on Geographic Names in Olympia on Friday gave its first initial approval of the name Burlap Pass for a gap at elevation 3,215 feet between the East and West forks of the Humptulips River, 5.3 miles southwest of Discovery Peak.

The committee meets twice a year to consider proposals from the public concerning the naming of geographic features in Washington State. The gap previously was known as “Windy Pass.”

A petition with 38 signatures was presented to the committee along with a letter in support of the name change from Don Bennett of Lilliwaup, who noted that Rabey “was a friend to virtually all citizens in the Humptulips area.” His ashes were scattered on the hillside overlooking the gap.

“Burlap” Rabey managed a local trucking company and was an avid elk hunter in the area, helping to organize an elk camp in the Olympics, the committee was told.

The proposed name change still must receive one more approval at the committee level and then finally be approved by the full Board of Natural Resources, said spokesman Bob Redling.

“After that, it would become an official Washington place name,” Redling said. “And then it would go to the National Board of Geographic Names. If they approve it, it would then become part of the nation geo-database of names. It’s pretty straightforward, but it’s just a lot of steps.”

There was no opposition voiced at Friday’s presentation, he said.

One name change that didn’t pass out of committee on Friday was a proposed change for the name Soap Lake in Central Washington’s Grant County. A proposal to change the name of the lake to the Indian name Smokiam was denied.