- The optimal method of travel in what we call Canoe Country, whether for Ojibwe, Voyageur, or contemporary tripper.
From the Haitian canoa; dating back to the expeditions of Columbus, who discovered them in use in the Caribbean.
- Canoe Rest
- Formerly, poles nailed up between trees, or extending from a tree, at a height chosen to provide optimal support
for a portaged canoe. Installed on long portages, often at the top of a long hard climb, they provided welcome relief
to tired shoulders. Not compatible with wilderness values, they have been removed from the BWCAW.
- Canoe Sign
- In the vernacular of Canoe Country, canoes leave signs of their passing much like roving moose and mustelids.
Generally these take the form of bright silver streaks on rocks at or near the surface of the water, particularly
at portages. At closer range, red and green sign are often seen as well.
- The highest level of vegetation in the forest, forming a more or less continuous cover from the branches and
foliage of adjacent tree crowns. A forest canopy can be closed or open and is a major factor in determining what
can grow below.
- Cant Hook
- Stout wooden lever, having a toe ring and lip at the end, used in rolling logs. Differs from a peavey
in that it has no spike in the end of the stock. In the BWCAW, has given its name to a lake
and Primitive Management Area.
- Capillary Fringe
- The unsaturated zone immediately above the water table but containing water in direct contact with the water
table. Also known as Zone of Aeration.
- Capillary Water
- Water occupying small spaces in the soil and held to soil particles by surface tension of the water molecules
for each other and for the soil particles.
- Arctic deer (Rangifer tarandus). The Woodland Caribou of boreal forest and muskeg was once present in
the Boundary Waters ecosystem but has since withdrawn well north of the border. It has given its name to several
North Country lakes.
- Caribou Rock Trail
- A hiking trail exending north from Hungry Jack Lake to the Stairway Portage and falls on the south shore of Rose
Lake. (BWCAW Entry Point 60).
- Caribou Trail
- Cook County Road 4, arising from the North Shore of Lake Superior just north of Lutsen
and providing access to Brule Lake and nearby entry points.
- An animal whose diet is made up primarily of the flesh of other animals. The preeminent carnivore of the North
Woods is, of course, the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus). From the Latin, caro, "flesh", and vorare,
- Carp Portage
- A 15 rod Border Route portage, between Seed and Melon Lakes.
- To birders and ornithologists, a bird species which occurs so infrequently in a given locale that it might be
seen up to three times over the course of a decade by an active observer. Somewhat more commonly occurring species
are termed Rare; less common Accidental. In northeastern
Minnesota, the Three Toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) is considered a casual summer visitor
and resident. The closely related Black Backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) is considered rare.
- An ion that has a positive electrical charge. That is, an atom that has lost one or more electrons. Important
to understanding the chemical properties of bogs.
- Only three wild cats (Felidæ) are native to the North Country, the Lynx (Lynx canadensis)
at the southern limit of its range in the BWCA, the Bobcat (Lynx rufus) at the northern end of its range,
and the Mountain Lion (Felis concolor), a species of special concern to the
- A flower structure composed of an often drooping, or pendulous, cluster of unisexual, petal-less flowers, typical
of wind pollinated trees and shrubs, such as willows (Salix spp.) and birches (Betula spp.). Also
called an ament.
- Caudal Fin
- Ichthyologist-speak for the fin on the hindmost part of the body of a fish; the tailfin to the layperson.
- Caudal Peduncle
- On fishes, the area on the lower side of the body between the tail (Caudal Fin) and the Anal
- Any of several species of the genus Cedrus, native to Eurasia. Commonly applied to the Northwoods cypress,
Thuja occidentalis ("White Cedar"), as well as the native
juniper tree, Juniperus virginiana ("Eastern Red Cedar") from just south of our region. From the Old English
ceder, derived from the Latin cedrus. Gijik in the Ojibwe.
- The current geologic era, from 66.4 million years ago to the present.
- Chemical Sedimentary Rock
- Formed from precipitates in the water. Includes limestone, gypsum, and iron ore.
- Any of several species of small and hardy birds of the genus Parus, native to North America and Eurasia.
Represented in the North Country by two of the region's few year round bird species, the Black Capped Chickadee
(Parus atricapillus), here at the northern edge of its range, and the Boreal Chickadee (Parus hudsonicus)
a northern bird at the southern extreme of its distribution.
- Small striped rodent and frequent campsite visitor, represented in the North Country by two species, the Least
Chipmunk (Eutamius minimus), and the Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus).
- The native peoples of the North Country, also known as Ojibwe, and to themselves Anishinabe.
- A green, light-absorbing pigment found in plants and other photosynthetic organisms. A magnesium-porphyrin complex,
it is an essential electron donor in photosynthesis.
- On lichens, the hair-like structures extending from the edge of the lobes.
- Any of a number of species of the Rose family genus Potentilla. Well represented in the North Country
by the Tall Cinquefoil (Potentilla arguta), Silver Cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea), Shrubby Cinquefoil
(Potentilla fruticosa), Rough Cinquefoil (Potentilla norvejica), Swamp Cinquefoil (Potentilla
palustris), and Wine Leaf Cinquefoil (Potentilla tridentata), among others.
- Plant and animal species widespread in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, occurring in both North
America and Eurasia. Sometimes referred to as circumpolar. The common Canoe Country shrubs, Sweet Gale (Myrica
gale) and Small Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus)
are circumboreal, as are the Goshawk (Accipiter gracilis) and Bohemian Waxwing
(Bombycilla garrulus). Circumboreal Plants List.
- Clastic Sedimentary Rock
- Formed from settled particles. Includes sandstones, siltstones, and mudstones.
- Mineral soil characterized by extremely small particles, not necessarily clay minerals, that are less than 0.074
mm in their maximum dimension, the finest of any soil type. Common elsewhere but not so much in the BWCA.
- Clear Cut
- A method of logging which removes all trees in an area, piling and burning the brush and trees too small to be
of economic value. Very efficient. Very destructive.
- Clear Length
- Portion of the tree between the ground and the point where the lowest limbs join the trunk.
- Cliff Brake
- Any of nearly 100 small, rock-loving ferns of the genera Cryptogramma
and Pellaea. Represented in the North Country by two species, the Slender Cliff Brake (Cryptogramma
stelleri) and the Smooth Cliff Brake (Pellaea glabella).
- The presumed stable endpoint of plant succession. It is a self-perpetuating community where the plants and animals
can succeed themselves. The climax community for a site is dependent on the topography, climate, and disturbances,
characteristic of that site. Well demonstrated elsewhere, it may be only a theoretical construct for much of the
- Clinton, DeWitt
- Nineteenth Century governor of New York state. Gave his name to the small genus of woodland bead lilies, Clintonia.
Represented in the North Country by the Blue Bead Lily, (Clintonia
- Multiple individuals of identical genetic makeup. Common among plant species which tend to reproduce more successfully
by vegetative means (stolons, rhizomes) than by seed.
Because of the harsh growing conditions, this includes many, if not most, BWCA species. The most noteworthy of these
may be the Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides), clones
of which can cover a significant area of forest.
- Any of several species of primitive, creeping plants of the genus Lycopodium. Not true mosses, they are
instead closely related to the ferns and horsetails. Represented in
the North Country by several species and, as a group, quite common.
- A covering, composed partly or wholly of silk or other sticky fiber, spun or constructed by many insect larvæ
as protection during the pupal stage of development.
- Any of several species of low, perennial herbs of the genus Petasites. Represented in the North Country
by Early Sweet Coltsfoot (Petasites palmatus). The deeply cleft leaf apparently reminded some of a colt's
- A leaf made up of several leaflets. There is no bud in the angle between the leaflets and leaf stem in a compound
leaf. Common North Country examples include the Black Ash (Fraxinus
nigra), Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), Mountain
Ash (Sorbus americana), and Wild Roses (Rosa
acicularis, for example).
- A lake. Name derivation unknown.
- A coarse-grained sedimentary rock made up of large, rounded particles of rock cemented together by finer particles.
(The large particles must be at least 2mm in size and can be boulder size). Easily identified on portages and around
- A woody plant which bears its seed in cones (literally "cone bearing"). Well represented in the North Country
by the needle leaf evergreens and one deciduous needle leaf tree, the Tamarack (Larix
- The visible fruiting body of a wood-rotting fungus, especially of the family Polyporaceae,
usually indicating well established rot in the underlying wood.
- Continental Divide
- A major drainage divide separating the drainage to one ocean from another. In the North Country, the Laurentian
Divide separates the streams which flow to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the St. Lawrence River, from those which
flow north to Hudson Bay and the Arctic Ocean.
- Cook County
- The easternmost of Minnesota's BWCA counties, extending from the Canadian border south
to Superior. Lake County is to the west. The county seat and largest city is Grand
- A lake. Probably from the Ojibwe kokosh, "pig, hog, swine."
- A subclass of freshwater crustaceans. From the Latin: cope, "one shell".
- Collective term for all the petals of a flower, separate or fused together.
- Lichens which colonize tree bark.
- Any of the many birds of the family Corvidæ, the Crows. Represented in the North Country by two
northern species resident year round, the Canada Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) and Northern Raven (Corvus
corax), and two summer visitors near the northern edge of their range, the Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
and the American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos).
- A "seed leaf" of a plant, which either stores or absorbs food. Whether a species has one or two marks the great
division of the flowering plants (Angiosperms) into the Monocots
- A method of primitive road construction in which poles were laid side by side to provide a firm, if rough, surface.
Still useful in the BWCA for portage trails crossing bogs and other muddy areas. From the French cours du roi,
literally the King's Road, and the derivation for the textured fabric of the same name.
- A nest parasite which lays its eggs in the nests of other, generally smaller, birds, leaving the eggs to be incubated
and young fed by the "adoptive parent". The cowbird hatchling often pushes the younger offspring of its host
out of the nest to their death and can have a negative impact on local populations of host species. The cowbird
of the North Country is the native Brown Headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater).
- An animal typically active at dawn and at dusk but at rest during the midday and nighttime hours.
- A small finch whose upper and lower bills are of such length and curvature as to cross one another when closed.
An evolutionary adaptation for extricating the seed from conifer cones. Represented in the North Country by two
species, the Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), and the White Winged Crossbill.(Loxia leucoptera).
Ajidêkoneshi in the Ojibwe.
- Upper part of a tree, including the branches and foliage.
- Crown Fire
- A wildfire of sufficient intensity as to have climbed from the ground to the tree tops and which then spreads
at the treetop level. Not uncommon in the northern forests before the days of fire supression, especially in stands
of Black Spruce (Picea mariana).
- Crown Lands
- Those public lands of the Canadian Province of Ontario adjacent to the BWCAW and Quetico
Provincial Park, but not a part of Quetico.
- Arthropods with a chitinous exoskeleton (ie, hard shell). These are the most abundant
zooplankton, feeding on diatoms, copepods,
fish eggs, larva, and other small organisms. Also includes the larger crayfish. From
the Latin crusta, "shell or crust".
- An extremely thin type of lichens which gives the impression of having been painted
onto the rock or bark substrate, adhering closely to at all points under the thallus.
Often raised and bumpy with numerous surface cracks. Removal from the substrata will cause extensive damage. These
pioneering lichens can survive in harsher environments than other groups. Also known as "crusties" or "fairy
- The hollow or pithy (non-woody) stem found in grasses and sedges.
- Cummings Lake Trail
- A 5 mile hiking trail extending west from County Road 644 to Cummings
Lake in the BWCAW. Begins on an old logging road.
- Curtain Falls
- A Border Route waterfall, dropping from Crooked into Iron Lake. Bypassed
by a 140 rod portage on the southern (American) side.
- Bluegreen Algae. The smallest plankton, sometimes abundant in freshwater. May form large
algae cluster mats.