Bemijigamaa – “a lake with crossing waters.”
When they settled this area in 1750, the Ojibwe people christened the lake with a fitting name, since the Mississippi River flows in from the south and exits on the east. We now call it Lake Bemidji, and folk legends insist it was formed in Paul Bunyan’s footprint as he logged his way west. BSU professors will tell you it was simply the final result in the last stage of glaciation in Minnesota.
The lake is our inspiration and our muse. It’s a laboratory for the Aquatic Biology program and a backdrop for our Studio Art classes. It’s a calming presence for quiet walks and a roiling mass during the Dragon Boat Festival.
With Lake Bemidji State Park sitting along its northern shore, the lake is a popular recreational and resort destination. In summer, locals and tourists gather for sailing, swimming and fishing. When winter comes and the lake freezes over, you’ll find folks bundled up for skating, hockey, curling and, yes, more fishing. All year round, we gather at the lake to enjoy its natural beauty and bounty.