When settling the Bemidji area in 1750, the Ojibwe people named the lake Bemidjigamaag “a lake with crossing waters” because the Mississippi River flows in from the south and exits on the east. It is now called Lake Bemidji and while folk legends claim it was formed in Paul Bunyan’s footprint as he logged his way west, BSU professors will tell you it was simply the final result in the last stage of glaciation in Minnesota.
The deep waters of Lake Bemidji are key to Bemidji State’s academic curriculum, acting as a laboratory for the Aquatic Biology program and a backdrop for Studio Art classes. It is a calming presence for quiet walks and a roiling mass during the summer months, when tourists, students and locals alike enjoy Northern Minnesotan lake life.
With Lake Bemidji State Park sitting along its northern shore, the lake is a popular recreational and resort destination. In summer, locals and tourists gather for sailing, swimming and fishing. When winter comes and the lake freezes over, you’ll find folks bundled up for skating, hockey, curling and, yes, more fishing. All year round, our community gathers at the lake to enjoy its natural beauty and bounty.