SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued the following statement after the U.S. Board on Geographic Names announced it had renamed South Dakota’s Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak. The South Dakota Department of Tourism, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks, and the State Board on Geographic Names all recommended the name not be changed.
“I’m surprised and upset by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names’ unilateral decision to rename Harney Peak, one of South Dakota’s most well-known landmarks,” said Thune. “The national board’s choice to reject the state’s recommendation to leave the name as-is defies logic, since it was state officials who so carefully solicited public feedback and ultimately came to their decision. I’m also disappointed the board grossly misled my office with respect to the timeline of its decision, which wasn’t expected until next year.”