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Otter Tail is a county located in West Central Minnesota, U.S.A. It is home to over One Thousand of Minnesota’s beautiful lakes. Otter Tail County boasts many miles of scenic highways, rolling hills , and is home to two Minnesota State Parks (Glendalough and Maplewood) as well as Phelps Mill County Park (pictured above).
Due to it’s unique location at the continental divide, rain falling in Otter Tail Lake flows all the way to Hudson Bay (Canada) via the Red River of the north, while rain falling just a short distance away into Leaf Lakes follows a southern route, traveling a wandering path all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Early explorers would portage from Leaf Lake to Portage Lake to Donald Lake to Pelican Bay on Otter Tail Lake and be on his way through Canada to Hudson Bay.
Otter Tail County celebrated it’s 150th Anniversary in 2018.
Read more about the History of Otter Tail County.
The Name “Otter Tail”
In 1750 the first explores in the area met with a band of natives on the shore of “Lac de la Queue de la Outer”, which translates roughly to the Lake of the Otters Tail. The name derives from the sand bar shaped like an otter’s tail where the Otter Tail River enters Otter Tail Lake (on the North East end of the lake) and now over two centuries later the otter’s tail sand bar is still there.