North Shore peak could honor Tahoe’s fallen veterans |

North Shore peak could honor Tahoe’s fallen veterans

Adam Jensen
Courtesy U.S. Forest ServiceA topographic map shows the location of a peak being considered for a name to honor Lake Tahoe Basin veterans killed in action. The nameless peak is designated as "Peak 2" in the map.

LAKE TAHOE – From beaches to buildings to neighborhoods, just about everything at Lake Tahoe has a name.

That is, except for one prominent peak, a short, but distinct summit that sits namelessly between well-known Mount Pluto and Martis Peak above Kings Beach off Lake Tahoe’s North Shore.

But the anonymity of the mountain may be short-lived. Discussions are taking place to name the peak in honor of veterans from the Lake Tahoe Basin who have been killed in action.

U.S. Congressman Tom McClintock, who has spearheaded the naming effort, has suggested “Gold Star Peak” in reference to the designation given to families of military personal killed during combat operations.

“It was the congressman’s idea to do something to remember the three fallen soldiers from the basin,” said Ross Branch, a field representative in McClintock’s office, referring to Army Pfc. Phillip Brandon Williams, Army Sgt. Timothy Smith and Army Spc. Garrett Fant, all of whom were from or live much of their lives in South Lake Tahoe.

Patty Smith, Timothy Smith’s mother, said the discussions have been taking place for awhile, and the designation would be a tremendous honor.

“It’s an honor to me, to my son, to all the soldiers that have laid their lives down,” Smith said Friday.

Whether the name of the peak should be expanded to honor everyone from the Lake Tahoe Basin who has served in the military has been brought up by South Shore resident and veteran Kenny Curtzwiler, who suggested the peak be named “Veteran’s Peak” in a letter to the South Lake Tahoe City Council. Curtzwiler has gathered dozens of signatures in support of the name.

The council will consider a resolution in support of naming the peak at its Tuesday meeting. Similar resolutions are expected to come before El Dorado and Placer counties, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Lisa Herron. The peak is located near Brockway Summit on federal land bordering the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Tahoe National Forest and Sierra Pacific Industries, Herron said.

If the proposal receives support from the local jurisdictions, it will then go to the California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names before heading to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

“Without the community support it is tough to move along,” Branch said.

If approved by the national board, the formation would then be recognized by name in any federal publication from that point forward, Branch added.

The City Council meets starting at 9 a.m. at Lake Tahoe Airport.

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