If you’ve had a chance to visit the new website for Colorado’s forty-second state park, FishersPeakStatePark.com, you may have noticed the absence of the apostrophe in the name. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has stated they are dropping the apostrophe in order to follow the style laid out for United States Geological Society’s (USGS) GPS mapping systems.
“If you look at any of their maps, Pikes Peak, Fishers Peak, and maps like that drop those apostrophe’s,” said CPW PIO Bill Vogrin. “We adhere to their spelling protocol, it’s as simple as that. We don’t deviate from their spellings, they are the experts on maps after all.”
Vogrin also expressed this would be helpful for establishing continuity and consistency within the CPW system.
The peak is the highest summit of the Raton Mesa sitting at 9,633 feet above sea level. Interestingly, it’s also higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude. Likely formed by horizontal lava flows more than one million years ago, the peak supposedly got its name after Captain Waldemar Fischer, a cavalry officer who lead his troops through the Raton Pass area on their way to Santa Fe.
According to legend, Fischer decided to climb the mesa after getting lost in order to get his bearings and Trinidad-area settler Richens “Uncle Dick” Wootton claimed to have gone along with Fischer on the climb but later admitted to the contrary in favor of a shady spot to rest instead. Wootton became known as responsible for the first road through the pass, setting up a way-station about halfway through.
In some instances, the peak was referenced on early maps as Ratòn Peak well into the 1870s. In the years following, local residents would refer to it as Fischer’s Peak as well as Fisher’s Peak until the 1890s when the mesa was almost exclusively called Fisher’s Peak.
Now, a century later, the mesa’s name seems to be morphing again.
— Ed. note: The Chronicle-News has decided to update our style guide to reflect this change in references to “Fishers Peak State Park.” Other businesses and institutions such as “Fisher’s Peak Elementary” will continue to be referenced by preference.