Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Lake Itasca, Itasca State Park, northwestern Minnesota. The park includes 157 lakes covering over 3,000 acres, as well as 27,500 acres of upland and 1,500 acres of swamp. Like Schoolcraft, he concluded the outlet at Lake Itasca was the only one with a surface flow and volume … As the source of the Mississippi river, Lake Itasca's drainage basin is considered a subwatershed of the entire Mississippi River basin. “It’s just hard to describe for each individual person, but it does have some magic to it.”. The name “Itasca” is a combination of the Latin words “veritas” (truth) and “caput” (head). The other one is a science story.”. Readers then vote on which query we should investigate — and Murzyn’s was the winner of a recent round. The 32,000-acre park is the state’s most developed park yet also one of its most pristine. As word spread, the conflicting claims required new scientific verifications. These resources are located within Itasca State Park, which encompasses Lake Itasca, the official source of the Mississippi River, and a scenic area of northern Minnesota that has remained relatively unchanged from its natural state. French explorer Joseph Nicollet surveyed the area in 1836 and confirmed Schoolcraft’s claim. Day 3: Bemidji to Lake Itasca. Most of the area has a heavy growth of timber that includes virgin red pine, which is also Minnesota's state tree. Schoolcraft was an Indian agent for the region, and he assembled an expeditionary party of thirty, including Ozawindib (an Ojibway guide and interpreter), an army officer, a surgeon, a geologist, and interpreter, and a missionary. The primary source and start of the Mississippi River are Lake Itasca. “If the source of the Mississippi is up in Canada, then the Brits have control of this major highway, the Mississippi River. Best nearby. Lake Itasca has become culturally recognized as the Mississippi’s source by tourists, mapmakers. It flows northwards from the lake. Traveler rating. The 50-square-mile (130-square-km) Itasca State Park was established around the Itasca basin in 1891. The process, which included draining of the swampy area surrounding the source, was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Despite its detractors, Lake Itasca has become culturally recognized as the Mississippi’s source by tourists, mapmakers and Minnesota natives like Murzyn. The Upper Mississippi River, more than 1,300 miles long, reaches from Lake Itasca to the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Ohio River at Cairo, IL. Were Minneapolis' skyways first created to combat the cold – or something else? According to these definitions, the Mississippi’s source should be the Missouri or Ohio rivers, respectively. Established in 1891, Itasca is Minnesota's oldest state park. A stop at Lake Itasca almost always made it into their road trip itinerary. Why does Minnesota tax Social Security benefits? Lake Itasca, the official source of the Mississippi River and a scenic area of northern Minnesota, has remained relatively unchanged from its natural state. Rome2rio is a door-to-door travel information and booking engine, helping you get to and from any location in the world. From the lake’s surface, which is 1,475 feet (450 metres) above sea level, the Mississippi flows southward 2,350 miles (3,780 km) to the Gulf of Mexico. That’s the latest question for Curious Minnesota, our community-driven reporting project that invites readers into the newsroom to ask questions they want answered. It is clear that the source of the river is Lake Itasca because a large channel of the river leaves the lake. Giacomo Beltrami claimed to have discovered the headwaters in 1823. Some geologists, however, have believed that other glacial lakes in the region also supply the headwaters of the river. In 1832 explorer Henry Schoolcraft, lead by his Ojibwe guide, traveled straight to Lake Itasca, source of the Mississippi River. Lake Itasca, lake regarded as the main source of the Mississippi River, in Clearwater county, northwestern Minnesota, U.S. Where did the term Minnesota Nice come from, and what does it really mean? So, the source of the Mississippi River is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota but what if Lake Winnipeg was the source of the Mississippi River and Lake Itasca and Lake Winnipeg were connected as a result? Corrections? Later, explorer Joseph Nicollet verified Itasca as the source, using the era’s scientific and surveying tools. What percentage of Minnesotans spend their entire lives here? Why isn't Isle Royale a part of Minnesota? “There is something that just brings out the youthful joy and excitement of adventure and discovery,” Cox said about the headwaters. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Tourism. Stand under towering pines and visit landmarks of centuries gone by throughout the park. The Itasca basin was made a state park in 1891, before logging could destroy all the virgin timber, and it has preserved a wilderness character, with stately … Founded in 1985 by Captain Thomas K. Coborn and Mickey Coborn, Lake Itasca Tours has made over 8,000 Naturalist Narrated boat tours to the Headwaters of the Great Mississippi River. Itasca definition, a lake in N Minnesota: one of the sources of the Mississippi River. Recently while sifting through family photographs, Murzyn, now a Star Tribune reader in Fridley, began to wonder: Is Lake Itasca the true headwaters of the Mississippi River or can we trace it to another source? How did Nicollet Island become parkland with private housing on it? Individuals like surveyor Jacob Brower became captivated by the region and the wildlife that inhabited it. It was explorer and ethnologist Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, however, who proposed Lake Itasca as the true source of the Mississippi in 1832. It is the primary source of the Mississippi River which flows 2,340 mi (3,770 km) to the Gulf of Mexico. Subjects. Get directions, maps, and traffic for Lake Itasca, MN. The first vessel the “Chester Charles”, named after Captain Tom’s Father, was a 1970 40′ tour boat that held 55 passengers. Here’s why: If you follow the Minnesota River up to Big Stone Lake, that takes you to … He believed they were at Lake Julie north of Lake Bemidji since that source sprang from … While some argue a river’s source should be traced to its longest tributary, others trace it to the stream that contributes the most water. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources uses the following terminology to identify watersheds on different scales: regions , subregions , basins , subbasins , watersheds and subwatersheds . Some of the red pine in Itasca are over 200 years old. “What he had concluded is Lake Itasca is that bottommost reservoir … and that all of these other lakes and rivers do contribute water, but the ultimate source is Lake Itasca, where it pools and collects,” Cox said. History of Lake Itasca Tours. Check flight prices and hotel availability for your visit. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota. Lake Itasca, lake regarded as the main source of the Mississippi River, in Clearwater county, northwestern Minnesota, U.S. Wendell Duffield, a geologist and native Minnesotan, argues that the Minnesota River should be considered an alternative source. In other words, while Lake Itasca is the Mississippi’s cultural source, Duffield makes a case that the Minnesota River and the tiny town of Veblen, S.D., is the river’s geologic source. Itasca State Park hosts the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, which attracts thousands of visitors a year. His claim of Lake Itasca as the source was disputed until 1888, when Jacob Brower was sent by the Minnesota Historical Society to survey the lake. Bemidji is the first city on the Mississippi. Find all the transport options for your trip from Chicago to Lake Itasca right here. 252 Reviews 5 Q&A. The lake is stocked with game fish and is popular with boaters. By following the Minnesota River, Duffield has traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota. The river’s cultural story spans decades of exploration by travelers who followed the Mississippi north into Minnesota in search of its source. Updates? Grades. Why is Uptown south of downtown in Minneapolis? Walk across the mighty Mississippi as it starts its winding journey 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Twitter; Facebook; Pinterest; Google Classroom; Email; Print; Credits Media Credits. Itasca A lake of northwest Minnesota. Rome2rio makes travelling from Chicago to Lake Itasca easy. Today, the park totals more than 32,000 acres and includes more than 100 lakes. Lake Itasca, MN Directions {{::location.tagLine.value.text}} Sponsored Topics. Reviews. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Lake Itasca Lake Itasca Photograph: Rocks partly dam a small river on a lake. Why can't Minnesotans figure out how to zipper merge? 1 Other Attraction within 5 miles. “There’s two parts to the answer,” said Connie Cox, the lead interpretive naturalist at Itasca State Park. Murzyn remembers learning early on that this small stream fed the mighty Mississippi River that rushed near his elementary school in northeast Minneapolis. 1 Restaurant within 5 miles. Help. From the lake’s surface, which is 1,475 feet It is Minnesota’s first state park, and one of the oldest in the country. Curious Minnesota is a community-driven project that puts readers' inquiries at the center of our reporting. During the late 1700s and early 1800s, explorers identified a range of Minnesota lakes as potential sources, but it wasn’t until Ozaawindib, a prominent Ojibwe, led explorer Henry Schoolcraft to Lake Itasca in 1832 that Americans began calling it the Mississippi’s source. Lake Itasca is a glacial lake which approximately measures 4.7 km 2. The Mississippi River is protected from its headwaters at Lake Itasca in Clearwater County, to the southern boundary of Morrison County, near Little Falls. How did Minnesota's indigenous people survive the extreme winters? During their visits, Murzyn and his brother would race back and forth across the rocks that span the stream that flows out of the lake. Henry Schoolcraft identified Lake Itasca as the river's primary source in 1832. Why are Minnesotans the only ones to play Duck, Duck, Gray Duck? THE AMERICAN HERITAGE® DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, FIFTH EDITION by the … Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The Mississippi River at its source bears little resemblance to the mighty river it becomes, but it is nonetheless the defining feature of the landscape of northern Minnesota. The beginning of the Mississippi can be seen to be interconnected with Lake Itasca. The lake, of glacial origin, covers an area of 1.7 square miles (4.4 square km) and has a maximum depth of 40 feet (12 metres). Debates continued until a survey revealed that the entire Itasca basin was the source of the Mississippi River, but the waters were not united as a … That could have been the end of the story, but in 1881, Willard Glazier, a self-promoting traveler, claimed Glazier Lake as the river’s source. “It wasn’t just an exercise in geography. All. The Itasca forest during the late nineteenth century contained towering pines and numerous lakes. If you'd like to submit a Curious Minnesota question, fill out the form below: How much are electric vehicles affected by Minnesota's extreme cold? This is an account by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864) of his discovery of the Mississippi River's source, Lake Itasca, in 1832. The fur trader William Morrison may have been the first white man to visit the lake in 1803 or 1804. Brower discounted Itasca tributaries as the source because they disappeared during droughts, while Itasca had a continual flow. State Parks. Jacob V. Brower surveyed the area and again identified Itasca as the Mississippi’s source because of the area’s bowl-shaped topography. Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca: Hours, Address, Itasca State Park Reviews: 5/5. Emma Dill is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune. Hydrologists — the people who study water and its movement — have varied interpretations of the term headwaters, said Mark Brigham, deputy director at the United States Geological Survey’s Upper Midwest Water Science Center. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/place/Lake-Itasca. He had been part of a previous expedition in 1820 led by General Lewis Cass that had named nearby Itasca State Park (508) 3.1 mi. Douglas Lodge Restaurant (86) 3.1 mi $$ - $$$ American. The river's channel appears much as it did when Henry Rowe Schoolcraft discovered the source in 1832. There are several tributaries that flow (most or all of the year) into the lake, one of which, by most modern definitions, as with the Nile River and Amazon River, would be considered the actual source, though less dramatic than the lake's outflow. 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