About Otter Tail County


Live Your Best Life Here!

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.

Your County Government

Otter Tail County is comprised of five divisions: Community Services, Finance Services, Internal Services, Land Services, Public Works, County Attorney Office, and County Sheriff Office. The divisions, under the leadership of the County Administrator, consist of departments that carry out a wide range of services from caring for veterans to plowing roads and public safety. Otter Tail County has a variety of communities all unique in their own way.
Otter Tail County is governed by a five-member Board of Commissioners. Along with Commissioners from each of the five districts, the County Attorney, Sheriff, Auditor/Treasurer and Recorder are elected by the citizens of Otter Tail County. Advisory Boards, Commissions, Councils and External Committees serve to provide input to County leadership. First and foremost, Otter Tail County serves its citizens.

Mission, Vision, Values

Our mission is a brief description of why we exist. It provides focus, direction, and inspiration to team members while simultaneously establishing public expectations.
Our Mission: Enrich lives, innovate services and enhance resources.
Our vision is an aspirational explanation of what our organization wants to be and accomplish in the future. It identifies our goals, provides direction, and motivates us to move forward.
Our Vision Statement: Be a recognized and respected county where people want to live, work and play.
Our values are what we stand for and what is important to us as an organization.
Our Organizational Values: Serving people with integrity, fiscal responsibility, respect and innovation for enduring success.

Otter Tail County, MN - Mission Vision and Values

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.

Otter Tales




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