A BWCA Glossary


Ogishkemuncie
A large lake in the heart of the BWCAW. Probably from the Ojibwe Ogishkimanissi - kingfisher; Okishkimonisse, fisher (bird).
Ogliotropic
Poor in nutrients.
Ojibwe
The native peoples of the region. Also known as Chippewa. Known to themselves as Anishinabe
Oketo
A lake. Name derivation unknown.
Old Growth
A mature forest which has not been disturbed by human activity. Also known as virgin forest. An increasingly rare, and increasingly valued, element of the wilderness. The lumbermen see it as something else, as evidenced in this not-so-subtle definition from an industry web site: Old Growth Forest: Forest stands in which the dominant cover types are mature or over-mature trees that have reached their maximum size. No harvest has occurred among these large, old trees and dead and fallen trees are as common as standing trees.
Old Pines Trail
This trail leaves the Snowbank Trail just north of Becoosin Lake. The highlight of this trail is (or, at least, was prior to the Fourth of July Blowdown of 1999) the stand of large, virgin White Pine (Pinus strobus), most of which are well over 300 years old. From the pine stand, the trail swings north to Alworth Lake and then back near Disappointment Mountain, then between Disappointment and Absub and eventually back to the Snowbank trail near the Boot Lake portage. The Benezie Loop swings south from the Old Pines Trail to Becoosin and Benezie Lakes. The Old Pines Trail has several scenic overlooks along the way. This trail is within BWCA.

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Olson, Sigurd
Author, teacher, and perhaps the most influential conservationist of and for the North Country (1899-1982). His nine books on the Superior/Quetico and the Canadian north are still widely read: The Singing Wilderness, 1956; Listening Point; 1958; The Lonely Land, 1961; Runes of the North, 1963; Open Horizons, 1969; The Hidden Forest, 1969; Wilderness Days, 1972; Reflections From the North Country, 1976; Of Time and Place, 1982. Most are republished by the University of Minnesota Press and would make an excellent choice for pack along reading material.
Omaday
A small lake in the lower Kawishiwi River drainage. Name derivation unknown.
Ombrotrophic
Deriving minerals solely from the atmosphere. A characteristic of acid bogs.
Omnivore
An animal whose diet consists of a mixture of plants and animals. The preeminent omnivore of the North Woods is, of course, the Black Bear (Ursus americanus), with honorable mention going to ourselves (Homo sapiens). From the Latin, omni, "all". and vorare, "to swallow."
Ontario
Canadian Province which shares the international boundary waters with Minnesota. Home to Quetico Provincial Park.
Orchid
Any of the many species of the family Orchidaceae, one of the most diverse of North Country plant families, represented in the Boundary Waters by some 32 species in 14 genera, some rare but others quite common.
Oriniack
A lake in the Trout Lake region in the southwestern BWCAW. Name derivation unknown.
Ornithology
The scientific study of the birds. The Minnesota Ornithologists Union gathers together professional and amateur ornithologists alike and produces much useful information on birds in the North Country.
Orogeny
In geological history, a period of building up resulting from movements in the earth’s crust; creates folding, faulting, and intrusions such as batholiths (domes), dikes (vertical), and sills (horizontal).
Osmunder
The Saxon god Osmunder the Waterman, Saxon equivalent of the Norse god Thor, hid his family from danger in a clump of ferns and so gave his name to the genus Osmunda, the flowering ferns. Three Northwoods ferns bear his name, the Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), Interrupted Fern (Osmunda claytonia), and Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis).
Osprey
The fish-eating hawk of lakes and other open water. Sole member of the genus Pandion and of the family Pandionidæ (hence, a monotypic family). Near global in distribution and quite common in Canoe Country, where it can be seen soaring on crooked wing, or diving into the water for fish. From the Latin, ossifraga, "bone breaker", applied by Pliny and others to the Langermeyer, only later to the osprey.
Otter
Any of several large, aquatic, and generally playful weasels. Represented in the North Country by the River Otter (Lutra canadensis). Nigig in the Ojibwe.
Outwash
Drift carried away from the retreating glacier by meltwater. As the speed of the water slows, materials drop out in relation to their size. This creates a natural sorting of the material by size with the largest pieces closest to the face of the ice and the smallest at the greatest distance.
Overmature
A commercial term used to identify the point at which timber has begun to lessen in commercial value because of size, age, decay, or other factors. Many trees in a virgin or old growth stand are overmature and are dying of old age. This is quite natural and provides essential habitat for many species. Drives the lumbermen crazy.
Overstory
The tree layer of foliage in a forest where tall mature trees rise above the shorter immature understory trees. Also known as the canopy.
Ovipositor
The extended, egg-laying apparatus of a female insect. Often mistakenly seen as a "stinger." (Hint: the longer and nastier it looks, the less likely it is a stinger.)
Owl
Any of the chiefly nocturnal birds of prey of the family Strigidæ. Very well represented in the North Country by four resident species, the Barred (Strix varia), Boreal (Aegolius funereus), Great Grey (Strix nebulosa), and Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus); two summer migrants, the Long Eared Owl (Asio otus) and Northern Saw Whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus); and two winter visitors from yet farther north, the Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca) of the tundra and the boreal Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula). The Boreal, Great Grey, Snowy, and Northern Hawk owls are all considered prized nothern specialties by American birders. Kâkoko in the Ojibwe.
Ozada
A lake. Name derivation unknown.
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Last Updated on 11 April, 2004