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It's one of our state slogans, it's right there on our license plates, but Minnesota is actually NOT the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

That's the word, anyway, from a new story by John A. Dowling, a limnologist (that'd be a scientist who studies lakes and rivers) at the University of Minnesota - Duluth. He's a native Minnesotan who, like many of us growing up, took pride in the Land of 10,000 Lakes being, as he said, the most 'lakey' state in the country.

But once he got interested in studying limnology, he wondered if that whole 'Land of 10,000 Lakes' slogan (which the state of Minnesota first noted on our license plates back in 1950!) was, indeed, accurate.

attachment-Play 8 Rochester Area Golf Courses (1)
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He quickly figured out that it wasn't. Also not accurate, Dowling noted, was a 2019 story by Minnesota Public Radio which proclaimed that Minnesota has 11,482 lakes. So what's the truth? If Minnesota isn't 'the Land of 10,000 Lakes,'  just how many lakes are there in our fair state?

To set out to find the answer to that question, Dowling did a LOT of research and delved into the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lakes database. It noted there are over 117,000 bodies of water in Minnesota. However, the DNR only considers a body of water a 'lake' if it's at least 10 acres in size, so that 117,000 number is too large.

Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior (CSJ/TSM-Rochester)
Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior (CSJ/TSM-Rochester)
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So just HOW many lakes ARE in Minnesota? Dowling explains:

The DNR database suggests that Minnesota has 14,380 lakes if you count lakes that cross the U.S. – Canada border, but do not count a few lakes that are mostly in other states, as well as waterbodies under 10 acres.

So there! Maybe next we can get the state of Minnesota to update our license plates to say 'Land of 14,000 Lakes,' right? (Though it doesn't quite roll off the tongue like 'Land of 10,000 Lakes,' does it?) No matter if it's 10,000 or 14,380, we still know this, though: Minnesota STILL has more lakes than my home state of Wisconsin (as I wrote about HERE.)

And while many lakes in Minnesota have names that make sense (like Lake Superior, or Rainy Lake), there are also a lot of lakes that have names that are a little tougher to pronounce. Keep scrolling to see how many YOU know how to say!

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SAY WHAT? 20 of the Hardest Lake Names to Pronounce in Minnesota

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