Whoa, there are no "Grand Tetons"

For those who want to get the park and feature names right

By RON LIZZI - GoOutsideBook.com


The Tetons - Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton (center), one of the Tetons - Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming



With the advent of social media, nearly everyone with something to say or a photo to show has become a publisher. Unfortunately few of us have editors, so mistakes are proliferating. For example, the exclamation whoa is often incorrectly written as "woah," although a word with that spelling would likely rhyme with Noah.


This problem has infected our national parks and their features, frequent subjects of shared photos. Well, if we're going to celebrate the parks, the least we can do is get their names right. So, with that goal in mind, here is a guide that addresses some common errors.



Grand Teton National Park


Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park is not "Grand Tetons National Park" or "Teton National Park" or "Tetons National Park."


Grand Teton is one mountain in the Teton Range, which is also correctly called "the Tetons." There is no "Grand Teton Range," and "Grand Tetons" is incorrect.



Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in Tennessee and North Carolina, is not "Great Smoky Mountain National Park" or "Smoky Mountain National Park" or "Smoky Mountains National Park."


The Great Smoky Mountains are often correctly called "the Smoky Mountains" or "the Smokies" (not "the Smokys" or "the Smokeys").


The names of the park and the mountain range include the word "smoky," which does not have an "e." However, identical-sounding names and nicknames may have an "e," as do the names of singer Smokey Robinson, the title character of the film Smokey and the Bandit, and wildfire prevention mascot Smokey Bear, whose official name is not "Smokey the Bear" or "Smokey da Bear."





The signature feature of Alaska’s Denali National Park & Preserve is the mountain named Denali, formerly named Mount McKinley. It is not "Mount Denali."



Waterfalls of Yosemite National Park


In California’s Yosemite National Park, the names of many - not all - of the waterfalls include the word fall, not falls. So, Vernal Fall is not "Vernal Falls." Apparently, fall was used for waterfalls with a single drop, falls for multiple drops.


Note that Yosemite Falls includes Upper Yosemite Fall and Lower Yosemite Fall.


While unusual, the use of fall is not unique to Yosemite. In Yellowstone National Park, the waterfall originally named Tower Falls was renamed Tower Fall by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1928.





The U.S. Board on Geographic Names frowns on apostrophes in place names, when indicating possession. Thus, Wyoming’s Devils Tower is not "Devil’s Tower," and Zion National Park’s Angels Landing is not "Angel’s Landing."



Other Mistakes


Acadia National Park is not "Arcadia National Park."


Canyonlands National Park is not "Canyon Lands National Park."


Capitol Reef National Park is not "Capital Reef National Park."


Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is not "Volcanoes National Park" or "Volcanos National Park."


Lassen Volcanic National Park is not "Lassen National Park."


Pinnacles National Park is not "Pinnacals National Park."


Yellowstone National Park is not "Yellow Stone National Park."


Zion National Park is not "Zions National Park."


The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range that includes Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks. The Spanish word sierra means "mountain range." The Sierra Nevada is often shortened to "the Sierra." Though common, "Sierras" is incorrect.