The state of Vermont has decided to change the historic name of a popular park, to avoid any hurt from possible associations with a white supremacist hate group.
"This is the right move," Rob Peterson from Vermont State Parks said of the decision to change the name of Kamp Kill Kare State Park in St. Albans.
The name has puzzled and even bothered some park-goers, Peterson said, because of its three Ks.
Curtiss Reed of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity said he had not personally heard from people upset about the name of park perhaps because he is based in the opposite corner of the state—in Brattleboro.
However, Reed said other place names have been changed in modern times when their previous names have been revealed as racist or insensitive.
"Changing it would at least send the signal that all are welcome," Reed said of the park in St. Albans.
Peterson, who is a regional manager for the parks system, told NECN and NBC10 Boston that about a decade ago, an outside consultant could find no links between the boys' camp that used to operate on the Kamp Kill Kare property and the Ku Klux Klan.
The KKK has violently targeted Black people as well as Jews, LGBT individuals, and others.
Despite that historian's research, Peterson acknowledged the park has fielded occasional questions from visitors about why those three Ks were in the park name.
"Maybe, just at the very least, changing the K to a C for 'camp'—that might help a little bit," suggested Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, after NECN and NBC10 Boston brought the history of questions about the park name to the governor's attention.
However, Peterson said the Vermont State Parks team is going even further with addressing concerns over the name.
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Peterson said during the national conversation on race, the destination has decided to drop the "Kamp" from its historic name altogether.
One sign at the entrance to the park has already come down, the regional manager noted.
"I hope it sends the message, which is always our message, that our doors are open to everybody," Peterson said. "The outdoors are the great equalizer. We are welcoming every person who comes into the parks, and hopefully, this is a place where you can relax and rejuvenate and refresh yourself in nature."
Peterson added that the state is right now working to remove any references to that first K, in Kamp, from the Vermont State Parks website, to go simply by Kill Kare State Park in the future.
For more information on visiting the Vermont State Parks, visit their website.