The Commission selected two ferry names at its July meeting: “Salish” for the second 64 car boat and “Kennewick” for the third 64 car boat.
Meaning/Significance: “Salish” refers to the Coast Salish people of Washington, British Columbia, and Oregon and is also the geographical name of the inland marine sea comprised of Juan de Fuca Strait, the Strait of Georgia, and the Puget Sound.
Meaning/Significance: The Cowlitz tribe provided key assistance with pioneer transportation and commercial activities in what some historians refer to as the Cowlitz Corridor which linked the Columbia River valley with South Puget Sound communities long before Washington Territory was established. The Washington Territorial Legislature honored the tribe by naming one of our earliest counties for them. This county includes a broad flood plain located at the mouth of the Cowlitz River at the Columbia River that was a swamp in pre-European settlement days which some authorities believe was the source for the meaning of the name Cowlitz, which is “capturing medicine spirit.”
Meaning/Significance: “Kennewick” has several native meanings: “winter paradise”, “winter haven,” “grassy place” and “grassy slope.” The name Kennewick comes from the Indian name Kin-i-wak. Kennewick was the gathering place for Native American peoples of the Chemnapums, Nez Perces, Walla Wallas, Yakamas, Cayuses, Wanapams, and Umatillas. Kennewick, located along the banks of the Columbia River, has been a major transportation artery since 1811, when fur traders began exploring the northwest. By the 1860s steam-driven riverboats ferried men and their freight up the Columbia.
Meaning/Significance: “Tokitae” is a Coast Salish greeting meaning “Nice day, pretty colors”, and is also the name given to an orca captured at Penn Cove, near Keystone, in 1970. Tokitae was brought to a marine park in Miami 40 years ago, where she was put into service as an entertainer, and named Lolita. She is the last survivor of the 45 Southern Resident orcas captured in WA state during the capture era of the 1960s and 70s. Such captures were later banned in Washington State waters in 1976.
Meaning/Significance: “Samish” is the “giving people” in proto-Salish origins. The Samish Indian Nation has held a deep-rooted respect for the traditions of sharing with its neighbors. The Tribe’s historic area ranges from the mountain tops of the Cascades westerly along the hills, woodlands, and river deltas, arriving at the far western shores of the San Juan Islands.
The Transportation Commission is the entity that names transportation facilities, including ferries. The Commission has a policy and process for naming ferries which you can find below.
If you have questions, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions below which provides answers to many commonly asked questions.
The Commission establishes a Ferry Team made up of three Commissioners. The purpose of establishing this team is to ensure a sub-committee of Commissioners oversee the entire ferry naming process from start to finish.
Commission Contact Info
The Transportation Commission
PO Box 47308
Olympia, WA 98504-7308