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California Asking for Public Input on State Park Name Change

 Agate Beach at Patrick’s Point State Park
California State Parks
California State Parks
Agate Beach at Patrick’s Point State Park.

Patrick's Point State Park in Humboldt County could be getting a name change at the request of the Yurok Tribe.

The tribe has asked that the park be renamed the Sue-Meg State Park, which was what the area was originally called. The park was renamed in the mid 1800’s to commemorate homesteader Patrick Beegan. Beegan has been accused of the murder of multiple Native Americans.

The Yurok Tribe formally requested a name change after the national conversation last year about the use of discriminatory names on natural features. Greg Collins is from California State Parks. He says that this rename is part of a larger initiative.

“We’re looking at place names, monuments, and our interpretation across the parks system.” says Collins. “And it's a larger project in California state government to identify discriminatory names of features that are attached to the parks and the transportation system.”

This name change would be the first to stem from the California State project called thur Past Initiative. The state park supports the rename, after the Yurok tribe officially requested the change in January of this year.

The Yurok people have built villages along major water ways in the region for thousands of years. They suffered discrimination, violence and exploitation after gold was found in California in the 1850s and European settlers arrived in the area.

The public has until tomorrow to email a written comment to the State Park system before the California Parks and Recreation commission votes on the proposal.

Sophia Prince is a reporter and producer for JPR News. She began as JPR’s 2021 summer intern through the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in journalism and international studies.