Minnesota, United States

About Minnesota

Minnesota is located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth most extensive state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.2 million residents. Nearly sixty percent of Minnesota's residents live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area known as the Twin Cities, the center of transportation, business and industry, education and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous forests in the southeast, now cleared, farmed and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation. The state is known for its moderate to progressive politics and social policies, civic involvement, and high voter turnout. Minnesota ranks among the healthiest states, and has a highly literate population.

Minnesota Tourism and Recreation

With its lakes and parks, ski trails and campsites, and historical and cultural attractions, Minnesota provides ample recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Minnesota's attractions include the 220,000-acre Voyageurs National Park, near the Canadian border; Grand Portage National Monument, in Arrowhead Country, a former fur-trading center with a restored trading post; and Pipestone National Monument, in southwestern Minnesota, containing the red pipestone quarry used by Indians to make peace pipes. Lumbertown USA, a restored 1870s lumber community, is in Brainerd, and the US Hockey Hall of Fame is in Eveleth.

The state maintains and operates 66 parks, 9240 mi of trails, 10 scenic and natural areas, 5 recreation areas, and 18 canoe and boating routes. Minnesota also has 288 primary wildlife refuges. Many visitors hunt deer, muskrat, squirrel, beaver, duck, pheasant, and grouse. Others enjoy boating each year on Minnesota's scenic waterways. Winter sports have gained in popularity, and many parks are now used heavily all year round. Snowmobiling, though it has declined somewhat since the mid-1970s, still attracts enthusiasts annually, and cross-country skiing has rapidly accelerated in popularity.

Minnesota Climate

Minnesota has a continental climate, with cold, often frigid winters and warm summers. The growing season is 160 days or more in the south-central and southeastern regions, but 100 days or less in the northern counties. Normal daily mean temperatures range from 7°F (–14°C) in January to 66°F (19°C) in July for Duluth, and from 12°F (–11°C) in January to 74°F (23°C) in July for Minneapolis-St. Paul, often called the Twin Cities.

Annual precipitation (1971–2000) averaged 31 in (79 cm) at Duluth and 29.4 in (75 cm) at Minneapolis-St. Paul. Precipitation is lightest in the northwest, where it averaged 19 in (48 cm) per year. Heavy snowfalls occur from November to April, averaging about 70 in (178 cm) annually in the northeast and 30 in (76 cm) in the southeast. Blizzards hit Minnesota twice each winter on the average. Tornadoes occur mostly in the south; on average there are 18 tornadoes in the state each year.

Minnesota Transportaion

Transportation in Minnesota is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT for short and used in the local news media). Principal transportation corridors radiate from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and Duluth. The major Interstate highways are I-35, I-90, and I-94, with I-35 and I-94 passing through the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, and I-90 going east-west along the southern edge of the state.[92] In 2006, a constitutional amendment was passed that required sales and use taxes on motor vehicles to fund transportation, with at least 40% dedicated to public transit.

Minnesota's principal airport is Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), a major passenger and freight hub for Delta Air Lines and Sun Country Airlines. Most other domestic carriers serve the airport. Large commercial jet service is provided at Duluth and Rochester, with scheduled commuter service to six smaller cities via Northwest Airlines subsidiary Mesaba Airlines.

Amtrak's daily Empire Builder (Chicago–Seattle/Portland) train runs through Minnesota, calling at Midway Station in St. Paul and five other stations. Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound, Jefferson Lines, and Coach USA. Local public transit is provided by bus networks in the larger cities and by the Hiawatha Line electrified light rail service linking downtown Minneapolis with the Airport and Bloomington.