Politifact weighs in on the Minnesota-Wisconsin 'who has more lakes' debate

It comes after a Wisconsin's new tourism secretary claimed they have Minnesota beat.
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Forget holding the power in D.C. to account, Politifact finally has something meaningful to sink its teeth into: The Minnesota vs. Wisconsin debate.

The fact-checking website has turned its attention to our Midwestern rivalry thanks to a statement made earlier this month by Wisconsin's new Tourism Secretary, Sara Meaney.

Speaking to WTMJ radio, Meaney said: "Wisconsin, many people may not be aware, actually has 15,000 freshwater lakes."

"More than Minnesota," she added at the prompting of the host. "Absolutely. We win. We win."

Seriously ... we're gonna go there?

You can read the full Politifact article here, but the verdict was that Meaney's statement was "False."

How can that be, considering the Wisconsin DNR claims Wisconsin has 15,074 lakes, while the Minnesota DNR says Minnesota has 11,842.

Well I could claim to have the dashing good looks of George Clooney and the erudite wit of Oscar Wilde, but that doesn't make it true.

But seriously, Politifact found that the main reason for the "False" rating is the respective states' definition of lakes.

Minnesota, for example, calls a lake a lake when the body of water is greater than 10 acres. Wisconsin on the other hand defines a lake as "anything it feels like calling a lake," Politifact notes.

Minnesota has standards, basically.

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It notes that thousands of Wisconsin's "lakes" are less than 10 acres, and 60 percent of the 15,074 don't even have a name.

The puddle of tears from Packers fans when they finished 3rd in the NFC North last year? That's a lake.

If Wisconsin was to use Minnesota's standard definition of a lake, it would only have 5,898, little over half as many as Minnesota.

Politifact also looked at data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

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In summary, Politifact concluded that if the 10-acre standard is applied – "or really any other reasonable metric – Minnesota has about twice as many lakes."

Nice try, Wisconsin, but we're called the Land of 10,000 Lakes for a reason.

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