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PolitiFact Wisconsin: Does Wisconsin actually have more lakes than Minnesota?

Posted at 6:49 PM, May 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 19:49:53-04

Many will head to a lake or lake house this Memorial Day weekend, but which state has more lakes? Wisconsin or Minnesota?

Politifact Wisconsin tries to set the record straight on a claim from our state's Tourism Secretary.

Minnesota claims on its license plate that it is the Land of 10,000 Lakes. But Wisconsin Tourism Secretary Sara Meaney told WTMJ radio, "Wisconsin, many people may not be aware, actually has 15,000 freshwater lakes."

Let's start with what is the definition of a lake.

"In Minnesota it's clearly defined. They have a 10-acre cutoff, so it has to be at least 10 acres to count as a lake," said Eric Litke with PolitiFact Wisconsin. "For Wisconsin anything that they feel like calling a lake basically is one."

PolitiFact Wisconsin then turned the U.S Geological Survey - to compare 'bodies of water.'

"If you look at all lakes and ponds, Minnesota posts about 124,000 as opposed to 82,000 for Wisconsin," said Litke.

Ok - let's go back the 10-acre definition. Who wins now?

"If both states used the 10-acre cutoff, again, Minnesota using this data set is around 14,000 lakes, said Litke, "Wisconsin is around 6,000."

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim False.