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Old 01-22-2009, 07:00 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
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Minnesota is the only state in the midwest that I haven't visited (other than flying into the twin cities for a flight changeover)... and I was wondering if someone could give me a quick rundown of how the geography in MN plays out. I'm just curious.

How much of the state is woodlands and lakes? Is southern MN the typical midwestern farmland? What is the Superior shoreline like in MN? Where do the different types of landscapes generally begin and end? Which areas are hilly and which are flat?

From a Michigander... the land of 11,000 lakes
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
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I will give it a try! If you go from northeast Minnesota to the southwestern part of the state it goes from forest and its starts to change to a forest prairie mix around st.cloud to all prairie in the southwest part of the state. The lake superior shore line is lined with pretty big cliffs and rocks this is where you would find the biggest hills in minnesota. actually the highest point in the midwest is located in the arrowhead of minnesota. I think its called eagle mountain.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Columbus OH
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The southeastern part of the state is generally rolling farmland, mixed with some woodlands. The drive along the Mississippi River on Highway 61 from Red Wing to La Crosse (WI) is very scenic and includes lots of bluffs, plus Lake Pepin (where the Mississippi River widens significantly).

I've read that Minnesota is actually the nexus of three geographic land formations:

The Great North Woods (northern MN)
The Prairies (West and SW MN)
The Rolling Farmland of SE MN (not flattened by the retreating glaciers)
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,333 posts, read 24,132,454 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michigan83 View Post
Minnesota is the only state in the midwest that I haven't visited (other than flying into the twin cities for a flight changeover)... and I was wondering if someone could give me a quick rundown of how the geography in MN plays out. I'm just curious.

How much of the state is woodlands and lakes? Is southern MN the typical midwestern farmland? What is the Superior shoreline like in MN? Where do the different types of landscapes generally begin and end? Which areas are hilly and which are flat?

From a Michigander... the land of 11,000 lakes
Southern and southwest Minnesota is very much like Iowa. Rich farmland, and fairly flat until you get into the Buffalo Ridge area out by Marshall (windy grass-covered hills and lots of wind turbines generating power).

The Twin Cities area has a lot of trees and is located where two large rivers (the Minnesota and Mississippi) join together, and some of the area is hilly due to glacial activity (much of Minnetonka is glacial morain created by glaciers pushing dirt forward and then melting away, leaving a ridge, so you see a lot of tree-covered hills made up of mostly gravelly soil).

Central Minnesota is fairly flat, mixed forest, and lots of lakes. The Brainerd Lakes area is a featured location.

Northern Minnesota tends to have less topsoil and a higher percentage of conifers, and the northeast corner (the "arrowhead" region along the north shore of Superior) is very hilly. The Superior shore is rocky with lots of cliffs, etc. Very pretty, but not good swimming.

Some sources of information:

Geography of Minnesota - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Minnesota Geography and Maps
HowStuffWorks "Geography of Minnesota - Physical Geography"
NorthStar Mapper
Google Image Result for http://www.ocs.orst.edu/pub/maps/Precipitation/Total/States/MN/mn.gif

etc.

BTW, Minnesota actually has 11,842 lakes (some sources say 11,843) of 10 acres or more, or over 15,000 using other definitions of lake size, and unlike some states which claim large numbers of lakes (e.g., Texas), most of Minnesota's lakes are natural, not man-made reserviors. the glaciers made a lot of potholes, and those all filled up with water.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:02 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
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Thanks a lot everyone, great responses. I need to make it up there and some point and check things out for myself!
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:45 PM
 
Location: South Minneapolis
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Let us not forget the Pine Line which runs through the state just above where Fargo/Moorehead across the state to somewhere near Duluth. I'm not positive about the actual latitude linage. The Pine line is where the Eastern Hardwoods stop growing and only Pine Trees grow above this region. Above it there are Pine Forrests while below it there are Woods lush with all manor of trees including the hard woods.

It's a significant geographical designation. The entire bulk of Michigan lies below this, I believe, as the Upper Penninsula is below this line or right near it.

If you wish to step back in time and see America's Beauty as it once was, Itasca State Park which is the Head Waters of the Mississippi River, one of the most influential inland water system in the lower 48. Seeing it's beginning is both humble and refreshing. Itasca contains about 32000 plus acres of natural woodland and waters that were insanely important to the Native Americans which once hunted/fished and called Minneosta's woods thier homes.

Bemidji which is just to the north of Itasca, is home to the Paul Bunyon myth and his blue ox Babe. The Statue beside Lake Bemidji is the second most photographed tourist attraction only to Mt Rushmore here in the Northern United States.

You must allow yourself plenty of time to see this state. There is SOOO MUCH room to move about and so very much to see.
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