CHINOOK - It's official. People calling to reserve a campsite at what was Fort Canby State Park now hear "Cape Disappoint-ment State Park at Fort Canby" when the phone is answered.
Washington State Park Commissioners last week voted five to one to change the name of the park to better reflect the historic heritage of the area. Park Manager Larry Chapman has had park staff add "at Fort Canby" when they answer the phone at first to eliminate confusion until people become acquainted with the new name.
The park was originally named after Brig. Gen. Edward Richard Sprigg Canby in 1875. Canby died in 1873 in the Modoc Indian wars in the 19th century and was commander of the U.S. Army Department of Columbia headquartered in Portland. There is no evidence that Canby ever visited the Peninsula.
Historians think the headland was named in 1788 by John Meares. According to Hobe Kytr, director of the Ilwaco Heritage Museum, the entire area "has the qualification of being universally applied, recognizable and still in current use ... and is almost unique and really quite notable in maritime nomenclature."
A number of local residents spoke for the name change last week, including board members of the Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark.
State Parks Commissioner Bob Petersen said this week that "the consensus among the commissioners was a good thing" and that the name change will help market the area with connections to Lewis and Clark.
He said the day after the meeting commission members toured the area, including the Cape Disappointment U.S. Coast Guard Station, where they learned that of all the Coast Guard stations in the country, Cape D is the best known, Petersen said, allowing the park to trade on the name recognition of the station.