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.
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.