A BWCA Glossary
- A large lake in the heart of the BWCAW. Probably from the Ojibwe Ogishkimanissi
- kingfisher; Okishkimonisse, fisher (bird).
- Poor in nutrients.
- The native peoples of the region. Also known as Chippewa. Known
to themselves as Anishinabe
- 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
- 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
- A small lake in the lower Kawishiwi River drainage. Name derivation unknown.
- Deriving minerals solely from the atmosphere. A characteristic of acid
- 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."
- Canadian Province which shares the
international boundary waters with Minnesota.
Home to Quetico Provincial Park.
- 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.
- A lake in the Trout Lake region
in the southwestern BWCAW. Name derivation unknown.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
- 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.
- Any of several large, aquatic, and generally playful weasels. Represented
in the North Country by the River Otter (Lutra canadensis). Nigig
in the Ojibwe.
- 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.
- 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
- The tree layer of foliage in a forest where tall mature trees rise above
the shorter immature understory trees. Also
known as the canopy.
- 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.)
- 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.
- A lake. Name derivation unknown.