Mirror Staff Report
TELLURIDE—(March 18, 2014) It’s official! The name of Telluride’s historic Bridal Peak has been restored, thanks largely to the efforts of local author and mountain historian Jeff Burch. Located on the Eastern rim of Bridal Veil Basin, the peak is important to the history of the region, but its official name had been lost over the years, though it was clearly labeled as Bridal Peak in the1962 U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin.
In a letter dated February 13, 2014, Burch notes that “The U.S. Board on Geographic Names voted today to restore the name Bridal Peak to the 13,510 foot summit just north of Columbine Pass, at the head of Bridal Veil Basin. Quoting an email just received from USGS: ‘the proposal was approved unanimously. No controversy and very little discussion. The name Bridal Peak will be added to GNIS in the next couple of days and should appear at the public page a day or so after that. The BGN will send out official notification letters in approximately two weeks.’
“This is the culmination of our effort over nine months to demonstrate the support of the Telluride/SW Colorado community for this naming,” Burch wrote. “The name is deeply embedded in Telluride history. We do not know why it was not carried forward, but it has now been restored!”
The effort took approximately nine months, said Burch, who was inspired to pursue the project after speaking with Telluride’s Bill “Senior” Mahoney. Today, Bridal Peak is the only mountain in the U.S. to officially bear this name. In addition to support from individuals, Burch credits the following organizations for offering written support in favor of the name restoration: San Miguel County Commissioners, Telluride Town Council, Mountain Village Town Council, San Juan County Commissioners (Silverton), Telluride Historical Museum, Ouray County Historian, Telluride Mountain Club, and the State of Colorado Board on Geographic Names.
Burch, who spent 30 years with the U.S. Forest Service, including 22 working in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National forests, refers to his fascination with local mountain names and lore “a hobby gone bad.” He released his very popular first poster, View Looking South from Montrose, in 2001. He co-wrote the popular Peaks of the Uncompahgre with local historian Don Paulson several years ago, and issued his newest book, The Peaks of Telluride, in late 2013. The new book can be found at shops in Ridgway, Ouray and Telluride, at Walgreen’s and Hastings in Montrose, and online at www.coloradothirteeners.com.
And though he has scaled many peaks, the success of this project is one that has Burch feeling a mile high.
“I am genuinely thrilled,” he said last week. “Thrilled at the success of restoring an important historic name in the Telluride region, but honestly, thrilled at the personal success of having facilitated the entire process, from application to the USGS, to involvement of the community at all levels. I am particularly proud of the web site at www.bridalpeak.com.
“This was a great idea that came from Billy Mahoney, Senior showing me Bridal Peak on old maps in his basement,” he continued. “The idea was supported by everybody in Telluride. It was OUR project, I just led the charge.
“This is a success for us all.”