The vote to change Swastika Lake of Albany County, whose naming came well before the genocide and white nationalism of WWII usurped the benign origins of the swastika symbol, has been approved to Knight Lake in a Tuesday night Albany County Commissioners meeting vote. 

Commissioner Terri Jones opposed changing the name due to the historical significance and teaching opportunities that present themselves due to the name of the lake, believing a name change promotes “communism” by erasing history. 

Chairperson Pete Gosar and Commissioner Sue Ibarra supported the changing of the name of Swastika Lake. 

Lindsy Sanders originally submitted the proposal to change the name of Swastika Lake to Fortune Lake, honoring the original meaning of the symbol. According to the United States Holocaust Museum, the word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being." Before WWII, it was a symbol common throughout Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Eurasian religions.

Kim Viner, Secretary of the Albany County Historical Society, proposed a change to Knight Lake after Dr. Samuel H. Knight.

Knight Lake was approved by the Commission. Knight, known as “Mr. Geology of Wyoming,” was an associate professor of geology and a curator of the museum, credited for greatly expanding the geology program and aiding in making it a nationally recognized program, according to

“Knight established the University of Wyoming Science Camp, a geological camp in the Medicine Bow Mountains west of Laramie that attracted students from all parts of the country every summer. The camp was named after him in 1966.”

Now, Knight has the nearby lake named after him, too. 

The lake sits in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, near Libby Creek, and near the science camp.

The commission has to submit a proposal to the US Board of Geographic Names for final approval. 

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