Itasca, Lake ītăs´kə [key], shallow lake, 2 sq mi (5.2 sq km), in a pine-wooded swampy region, NW Minn. Henry R. Schoolcraft identified the lake (1832) as the source of the Mississippi; stepping stones cross the river at its exit point. Although inarguably the source of the named river, the river's true physical course has been disputed by geographers. In 1891 the region was included in a state park, which has a historical and natural history museum. A school of forestry and a biological research station are nearby.
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