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Word Nerd: Wickiup

By Ryan Hume

For Coast Weekend

Published on October 6, 2017 4:19PM

An Apache Wickiup circa 1903


An Apache Wickiup circa 1903

The Bear Creek Watershed looking toward Wickiup Mountain.

Photo by John Goodenberger

The Bear Creek Watershed looking toward Wickiup Mountain.

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1. an ovalish, easily constructed hut used by certain nomadic Native American tribes of the western and southwestern U.S.

2. Wickiup Reservoir: the second largest reservoir in Oregon is located outside of La Pine in Deschutes County. First dammed on the Deschutes River in 1949, the reservoir offers fishing, boating, wildlife viewing as well as supplying irrigation water for Central Oregon farms.

3. Wickiup Mountain: a 2702 foot peak southeast of Astoria that provided many early settlers with ample old-growth timber.

4. Wickiup Lake: a small lake on that mountain that provides water for the city of Astoria and nearby communities as part of the Nicolai-Wickiup Watershed.


First recorded in 1843, though probably in use for generations prior to this, “wickiup” is synonymous with “wigwam.” It comes from the Fox dialect, also sometimes referred to as the Sac and Fox dialect or the Mesquakie-Sauk dialect, a native Algonquian language that was once prevalently spoken from the Midwestern United States down through Northern Mexico. It is derived from the term wikiyapi, which simply means “house.”

“Water originating in the city’s wholly owned 3,700-acre forest once fed the city’s booming canneries and now supplies its breweries. It includes 32 miles of stream and tributaries, Bear Creek Reservoir, Middle Lake and Wickiup Lake.”

—​“Our view: Astoria wise to invest in a healthy watershed,” The Daily Astorian, Sept. 19, 2017

“The river’s waters typically reach 1,600 cubic feet per second (45.3 cubic meters per second) near the Wickiup Reservoir, 60 miles (97 kilometers) southwest of Bend, in July and August and up to 2,100 cubic feet per second (59.5 cubic meters per second) near Benham Falls, according to data from the Oregon Water Resources Department.”

—​“Upper Deschutes River flooding continues to be a problem,” The Daily Astorian, Sept. 18, 2017


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