‘Luna Lake’ to be added to USGS maps near Sitka

The slide at the head of Redoubt Lake, photographed in late May. The lake itself is to the left; the new lake is flooding the wooded area to the right. At present, the extent of the flooding is about 55 acres. (USFS photo)

The slide at the head of Redoubt Lake, photographed in May of 2013. Luna Lake formed in the wooded area to the right. Initially, Luna Lake covered about 55 acres, but it’s somewhat smaller now — and may eventually disappear if the natural dam erodes. (USFS photo)

It’s official: The United States Board on Geographic Names has formally recognized “Luna Lake.”

The tiny body of water on the northern end of Redoubt Lake near Sitka was formed when a massive landslide in 2013 blocked the inlet stream.

The letter Knox received acknowledging Luna Lake, and specifying its coordinates.

The letter Knox received acknowledging Luna Lake, and specifying its coordinates.

Kevin Knox and Maggie Gallin were staying at the Redoubt Cabin, and escaped just moments before it was destroyed by the slide. Both ended up being swept into the lake by debris, but survived.

Knox’s border collie, Luna, however, was never seen again. Naming the newly-formed lake for her has been a bittersweet effort says Knox.

“It’s a nice honor, but I wish it wasn’t the thing that I was going after these days,” said Knox.

Knox had to wait five years after Luna’s death to petition the Alaska Historical Commission to name the lake. After winning that approval, it was a relatively short process to get the proposed name before the US board.

Knox — who sits on the Sitka Assembly — has received pushback from some who felt the area already had a traditional name, but he believes that those concerns have been resolved.

“There was some confusion that people thought it was actually a name change, but there was never a lake there before, and it wasn’t named anything that anybody could really tell me,” he said. “I felt like I reached out to try to find that out.”

Had she lived, Luna would be 17 years old. Knox says he and Gallin haven’t been back to Luna Lake for several years. He says he plans to visit soon and reflect on the friend he lost there. Knox says he’ll also keep his eye on Google Maps, where he expects the name “Luna Lake” will first appear in official form.

What happened this week?

Make sure you didn’t miss anything with The Signal – an insightful (and entertaining) recap of the biggest news in Alaska, delivered to your inbox weekly

Recent headlines

X