A BWCA Glossary
- The native peoples of the Northern Plains formerly resident, in the
days before the horse, in the eastern woodlands. Some BWCA placenames
are of Dakotah origin, such as Zitkala Lake, "red bird" in Dakotah.
- Any of the conspicuous and elongated insect aerialists of the suborder
Zygoptera (Order Odonata). Distinguished from their
larger cousins, the dragonflies, by their smaller,
more delicate form, as well as their habit of holding their wings above
the body when at rest, while the dragonflies rest with their wings outstretched.
Appreciated for both their beauty and their voracious appetite for mosquitos.
- Daniels Spur Trail
- A 3 mile hiking trail extending west from Cook County road 66, at
the west end of Clearwater Lake, to Daniels Lake, then north along the
south shore of Daniels to the Border Trail at the Long Portage on the
Arrow River. The trail is quite level over its full length, the
first mile of which follows an old road. (BWCAW Entry Point 82)
- A tiny, and abundant, aquatic crustacean. Also known as water fleas,
though unrelated to the true fleas, with are insects.
- Diameter at Breast Height. The diameter measure of a tree 4½'
above ground level.
- A plant whose natural habit is resting on the ground, but with the
tip rising up (in contrast to prostrate,
in which a structure lies completely flat on the ground.)
- The antlered herbivores of the family
Cervidæ. Represented in the North Country by the
Moose (Alces alces), the White Tail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus),
and, farther north, the Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus).
- Deer Fly
- A medium sized biting fly of the North Country, represented by several
species of the genus Chrysops.
- Deer Tick
- The smaller of our native ticks, but that which perhaps poses the
greatest risk to humans. Ixodes scapularis is teardrop
shaped and relatively small, with a blackish dorsal shield over a reddish-brown
body which fades to grey on engorged specimens. It is the primary
transmitter of the Borrelia burgdoferi spirochete, the spiral-shaped
bacteria that causes Lyme Disease, as
well as being a disease vector for Babesiosis
and Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis (HGE).
Also known as the Blacklegged Tick.
- The more easily pronounced shorthand for the insect repellant chemical
N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, generally considered the most powerful
and effective source of relief from the native dipterans. Toxic,
it should be used with caution, especially on children. Eats plastic,
- Splitting open along regular lines, as in a fruit which breaks open
at maturity to release its contents of seed. The Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) is a good North Country example.
- Literally "loss of water". Ironically, a serious risk for hikers
and canoe trippers in this land saturated with water. Dehydration,
especially in summer, is an ever present risk. Drink plenty of
water. Pay especial attention to any children in your party.
- The study and identification of trees. From the Greek, dendros
- Drying. A serious risk for evergreen plants exposed to drying
- Devilís Cascade
- A 1/3 mile long series of rapids, dropping 72', on the Little Indian
Sioux River, just below Lower
Pauness Lake. Bypassed by a 160 rod portage on the east bank.
- Devil's Elbow
- A crook in the Granite River between Gneiss and Maraboeuf Lakes.
- A common intrusive rock with a crystal structure intermediate between
gabbro and basalt.
Between Gunflint Lake and Superior (BWCAW
Region 5) Keweenawan sills and dikes of
diabase intruded up through the older slate, much of which later was
eroded away, or scraped away by glaciers, leaving the harder diabase
ridges which define the long narrow east/west lakes and valleys so characteristic
of this area.
- Diameter at Breast Height
- The diameter measure of a tree 4½' above the ground level.
Most commonly encountered as the abbreviation d.b.h.
- Small mobile plants (algæ) with silicified (silica, sand, quartz)
skeletons. They are among the most abundant phytoplankton
in cold waters.
- A subclass of the flowering plants (Angiosperms).
Named for having two seed leaves (cotyledons)
they tend to have broad leaves, netlike veins in the leaves, flower
parts usually in fours or fives, a ring of primary vascular bundles
in the stem, and a taproot system. Also known as Dicot.
Most North Country flowering plants are dicots. See Monocotyledon.
- Rising magma cooling underground which cuts vertically across exisiting
rock. Dikes and sills of Keweenawan
time arose among the older Rove Formation
which runs from Gunflint Lake east to Superior (our BWCA Region
V). More resistant to erosion and glaciation than the surrounding
rock, they delineate the long and narrow lakes which are the hallmark
of this region.
- Plants having male and female parts on separate individuals.
- Disappointment Mountain
- An 1816' summit rising above the northeast end of Disappointment
Lake in the central BWCAW.
- The round, button-like center of composite (Aster/Daisy family) flowers,
typically composed of many tiny tubular flowers (the disk), usually
surrounded by more colorful ray flowers (the "petals"). The flowers
of the ubiquitous Large Leaf Aster (Aster
macrophyllus) and its cousins are a common late summer and fall
example in the North Country.
- Displacement Speed
- The maximum speed at which a canoe can travel, without speaking to
the effort required to reach that speed, which is determined by the
formula; S (speed) equals 1.55 times the square root of the waterline
- An animal typically active during the daylight hours.
- A method of plant propagation in which mature plants are carefully
dug up and separated into a number of smaller plants.
- Abbreviation for Department
of Natural Resources, the Minnesota state agency having responsibility
for protecting the plants and animals of the BWCA.
- Of the wild dogs of the family Canidæ, three species
are native to the BWCA, the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), Coyote (Canis
latrans), and one of the great icons of the northern wilderness,
the Timber Wolf (Canis lupus).
- A large shrubby herb (Apocynum
androsæmifolium) of dry, open places. Look for it
near portages and campsites. The Greco-Latin name translates crudely
as "the dogbane with leaves resembling the plant which is named for
its juices the color of human blood". The sap of the dogbane is
milky white. Go figure.
- Dog Tick
- (Dermacentor variabilis) The largest and most widespread
tick in our area, marked by a distinct contrast between the whitish
patterned dorsal shield and the dark-brown body. Apparently, it
plays no significant role in the transmission of Lyme
Disease and Babesiosis but has been
implicated in the transmission of several other diseases such as Rocky
Mountain Spotted Fever. Also known as the Wood Tick.
- Any of several woody shrubs and small trees of the genus Cornus.
Represented in the North Country by several tall shrubs, such as Red
Osier Dogwood (Cornus
sericea) and Alternate Leaf Dogwood (Cornus
alternifolia) as well as the ubiquitous shrublet, the Bunchberry
- Dorsal Fin
- In the fishes, the often prominent, ray supported fin along the midline
of the back, occasionally divided into two fins. An important
indicator in distinguishing among some families and species of our native
- Double Carry
- In the vernacular of Canoe Country, to cover a portage in two trips,
one for the packs and another for the canoe.
- Any of the conspicuous and elongated insect aerialists of the suborder
Anisoptera (Order Odonata). Distinguished from their
smaller cousins, the damselflies, by their
larger, more robust form, as well as their habit of holding their wings
outstretched when at rest, while the damselflies rest with their wings
held above the body. Appreciated for both their beauty and their
voracious appetite for mosquitos. Obodashkwanishi in the
- Drainage Basin
- The area from which a stream and its tributaries receive their water.
A hydrologic unit of area consisting of a surface stream or body of
impounded surface water and all its tributaries. Runoff in a drainage
basin is distinct from that of adjacent areas.
- Drainage Divide
- The line that separates one drainage basin from another.
- Glacial deposits laid down directly by glaciers or laid down in lakes,
ocean, or streams as result of glacial activity.
- A fleshy fruit with a hard nut or stone. The fruit of the Pin
Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
provides a common North County example.
- The smallest Canoe Country perennial, Duckweed is a single leaf plant
of the genera Lemna
which floats, often in large mats, on the surface of still waters.
- Duct Tape
- The "Handyman's Friend" and an essential part of the emergency kit
of any canoe party. Used for temporary repair of punctures in
canoe hulls. Required by some outfitters.
- The partially decomposed organic material of the forest floor beneath
the litter of freshly fallen twigs, needles,
and leaves. Under coniferous trees, made up almost entirely of
dead needles. Often dry and occasionally quite deep, duff can
smolder for days after a fire passes through.
- In the vernacular of Canoe Country, the third person in a canoe.
One who sits on one's "duff" while one's partners do the paddling.
Great work if you can get it.
- Duluth, City of
- Minnesota's port city and and home to 85,000 people, located at the
southwestern end of Lake Superior.
Duluth is also the gateway to the North Shore
and the last urban center this side of Thunder Bay. All our BWCA
trips include stops in Duluth, to stretch our legs and feed our faces.
Named for the early French explorer Daniel Greysolon, who bore the aristocratic
title of Sieur duLhut, and first visited the area in 1679.
- Duluth Complex
- A massive Keweenawan intrusion composed
primarily of gabbro, with significant amounts
of anthorosite and other granitic rocks. It runs north some 60
miles from Duluth nearly to Canada and is estimated to be up to 10 miles
thick. This forms the bedrock underlying much of the eastern BWCA
- Duluth, Lake
- A large glacial lake occupying the western end of the Superior Basin,
constrained by the ice remaining in the eastern end and the Valders
moraine in northwestern Wisconsin. The lake drained south, by
way of the Bois Brule and St. Croix, to the Mississippi. This
lake went through several incarnations, at various elevations, as conditions
- Duluth Pack
- The classic pack of Canoe Country. Basically a large, green
canvas box with leather straps. High on capacity, low on comfort.
- Rich in humic acids produced by bog vegetation; used in reference
to dark stained, extremely oligotrophic