Koochiching County, Minnesota
It is said that Koochiching County is exceedingly rich in history.
This claim is based on the fact that many significant events
involving people of various tribes and nations have occurred in
these parts over the centuries. History records and explains past
happenings and in so doing provides a background for what's taking
place in our own times.
Beyond that, history brings into focus a great many people who took
part in the occurrences of yesteryear — the makers of history.
Succeeding generations can learn from them. The historymakers of
Koochiching County were, as a whole, a colorful and adventurous
people. They were courageous and innovative and lived a busy life.
They were explorers, traders, homesteaders and lumberjacks. There
were also teachers and preachers, merchants, engineers and builders
of industry. All came this way with a goal in mind, their goals as
varied as their occupations. Settlers of the early 1900's, in
particular, surmounted every form of hardship — isolation, illness,
harsh weather and poverty. There were few quitters among them; a
majority endured and won. They built schools and churches and fought
for good roads. The results of their efforts and sacrifice carried
over into modern times and contributed to our own comfortable way of
Present generations owe the pioneers a warm thank you. Our
history-rich county lies at the top of the map of Minnesota, its
northern border forming the boundary between the U.S. and Canada. It
is next to the largest of the 87 counties, exceeded only by St.
Koochiching is also next to the youngest in the state, having been
created in 1906 after its residents voted to separate from Itasca
county. (Lake of the Woods county was formed in 1922). The name
Koochiching, or Couchiching, arouses interest. Along with being a
bit difficult to spell and pronounce, the word is of uncertain
origin and meaning. Ouchichiq was a Cree name that the Ojibway
applied to both Rainy Lake and Rainy River. An early-day traveler,
Rev. J.A. Gilfillan, translated it into "Neighbor Lake and River."
Another interpretation made it "A Lake and River Somewhere." In any
event, the name Koochiching was first applied by white men to the
falls of Rainy River and then to the settlement that grew up at the
head of the rapids and became the city of International Falls.
The name was also given to a township that surrounded Koochiching
village; all this before it was adopted as the county's name. Early
French map makers applied the name Lac de la Pluie to the body of
water known today as Rainy Lake. The term is believed to be a French
translation of Cree words that referred to the mists of Koochiching
Falls, resembling rain. Koochiching's history necessarily goes back
to the prehistoric peoples who hunted the lush woodlands and fished
the rivers hundreds of years ago.
Big Bog State Recreation Area
Big Bog State Recreation Area has been called Minnesota's last true
wilderness. This two-part recreation area includes a northern unit
and a southern unit. The 500-square-mile peat bog, the largest in
the lower 48 states, is located in the northern unit. A mile-long
boardwalk, completed in 2005, enables visitors to get a first-hand
look at the unique plant and animal life of this rare resource. The
bog, which has long been a source of medicinal plants for the Ojibwe
Indians, represented a barrier to European settlers who tried in
vain to drain it.
Today, many of the native plants, including yellow-eyed grass, bog
rush and two kinds of sundews, are on Minnesota's endangered or
threatened species list. From orchids to carnivorous plants to rare
birds, visitors will see a mixture of fascinating and rare
resources.The southern unit includes a campground with 31 campsites
(26 electric sites) winterized camper cabins, a sandy beach, picnic
grounds, and great fishing.
The southern unit includes a campground with 31 campsites (26
electric sites) winterized camper cabins, a sandy beach, picnic
grounds, and great fishing.
For many travelers, the words "nature" and "Minnesota" are
synonymous. Up here in the North Star State our wildlife is
abundant, accessible and charismatic. Everyone knows about our
wolves, loons, and moose; our orchids, carnivorous plants, and
coniferous forests; and our eagles, pelicans, and walleye. But have
you heard about our prairies, aspen parklands and bogs? Come on up
and take a look.
See the sun set in the same tallgrass prairies that swallowed
travelers on horseback more than a hundred years ago. Experience the
wild symphony of elk bugling in the aspen parkland. Buckle up your
snowshoes and head out into the muskegs to watch Great Gray Owls
hunt at dusk. Not quite that adventurous? Truth is, you can enjoy
Minnesota's wild side without even getting out of your car... see
Experience Northern Minnesota!