|Crossing the Mississippi|
|Tourists crossing the outlet of Lake Itasca|
|Squirrel at the headwaters|
In addition to preserving the origin of the Mississippi, Itasca State Park also protects some of the last unlogged forest land in the state. Apparently some surveyor made a mistake and placed a few square miles of perfectly good trees in the middle of the lake. The logging companies believed the map and just never sent anybody out there to chop the trees down. They didn't figure out their error until too late. By that time, there were conservationists do-gooders running around that managed to get the state government to set the area aside for the edification of future generations. I couldn't really tell the difference between the old growth forest and the replanted, newer areas but I never really got a close up look. Every time we got out of the car, mosquitoes zeroed in on us within a couple of minutes, so we did most of our sightseeing from behind glass.
|The Bemidji Paul Bunyan. Looks like an 8th grade class project.|
|Another giant Bunyan. You're supposed to sit on his hand. No thanks.|