Name That Creek

Name That Creek

Giving a Name to the Nameless

Community engagement is critical to conserving our waterways. Name that Creek is a RiverLink program that connects communities with local unnamed streams through naming campaigns. RiverLink works with residents living near an unnamed stream to collect potential names and create a poll. The winning name is then chosen democratically by community vote. Proposed stream names should be distinctive to the area, inspired by local history, folklore, or surrounding flora and fauna.

RiverLink submits the winning name and supporting documents to the U.S. Board of Geographical Names. Once approved by the Board, RiverLink will host a community celebration of the stream and the new name will appear on official USGS maps. The goal of the Name that Creek Program is to foster human connections to our regional waterways that will lead to better stewardship of these precious resources.

Name Your Creek
Interested in naming a creek in your neighborhood? Contact RiverLink’s Watershed Resources Manager at:, (828) 252-8474 X 14

Creeks We’ve Named

Gordon Branch
The creek that begins on Town Mountain, flows through North Asheville, and meets Reed Creek in Weaver Park is now known as Gordon Branch!  Gordon grew up with the creek in his backyard and, sadly, passed away in the same house on April 16, 2013.  Thanks to the nomination from his neighbor and the votes from around the city, he will now be remembered for years to come.
RiverLink is now working on submitting the name to Asheville City Council and the United States Board on Geographic Names for final approval.
Orchard Creek

Community members recently finished voting on the name for the creek that begins near the intersection of Brevard and Olney Rds, then flows southwest underneath Gassaway Field into Rhododendron Creek.  The name “Orchard Creek” was chosen due to an historical apple orchard that used to be situated near the beginning of the creek.  One of the apartment houses on Brevard Rd used to house the orchard workers, and a building in the back used to be horse stables.

What’s next, you ask?  RiverLink will submit the proposed name of “Orchard Creek” to Asheville City Council for approval.  Then the name will be submitted to the United States Board on Geographic Names and, upon final approval, will eventually be listed on official United States Geological Survey topographic maps for all to see!

Thank you to everyone who submitted names and voted in this campaign.  Orchard Creek is happy to live in such a great community!

Bacoate Branch

One of our Name That Creek campaigns focused on a small stream that begins in Aston Park near the intersection of Hilliard and Clingman Avenues in Asheville. It parallels Clingman Ave. before being piped underground, emerging just before it enters the French Broad near 14 Riverside Drive, which is the site of the new River Arts District Visitor Center.

Members of the local community groups RADBA, RADA and WECAN submitted names and Asheville residents chose Bacoate Branch to honor Osie W. Bacoate, teacher, cosmetologist, civil rights activist and WECAN neighbor since 1953. Osie’s son, Matthew Bacoate, Jr., was proprietor of the largest African American owned business in the Asheville’s History, AFRAM, housed in what is now WEDGE Studios.

Penland Creek

Johnny Penland and his father, Grover Penland, began Penland’s Auctions in the late 1950s on the New Belgium site. The famous auction house was active until 2013. Naming the onsite creek after this pivotal auction house is a way of remembering where this property has come from, and the huge transformation it has undergone.

Buttermilk Creek

The headwaters of this creek were located under the milk plant at the top of Deaverview Rd. The sewer line from the plant also follows the creek. The milk company used to overload the sewers which would cause sewage to back up into the houses along the creek. Asheville MSD (Metropolitan Sewer District) constructed relief valves along the sewer that would dump the overload into the creek, causing it to have a buttermilk smell for weeks. Naming it Buttermilk Creek reminds us of the not-so-nice history of dumping in the creek, and how this waterway has come.

Fox Creek

The natural habitat surrounding the creek will soon be developed into Craggy Park, a tract of 45 houses. Many neighbors have spotted at least one fox who still lives in the woods around the creek and wanted a name that honors the animals that still live in our midst.