"Wisconsin — the name is said to mean gathering of the waters— identifies our state with its most bountiful resource. Our state has more than 50,000 miles of rivers and streams, more than 15,000 inland lakes, about 1,751 square miles of Great Lakes estuaries and bays along 1,017 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, and approximately 5.3 million acres of wetland (Wis. DNR 1996). Significant aspects of Wisconsin Native American tribal cultures are based on the harvest and stewardship of aquatic plants and animals. The natural qualities of Wisconsin's lakes and waterways are important, not only for local economies, but also in defining the special character of our state. From trout streams to floodplain forests, from the shores of Lakes Michigan and Superior to the wild rivers, streams, and creeks of the northern forests and the inland lakes and wetlands created by ice-age glaciers, Wisconsin is blessed with an incredible wealth and variety of water resources. These resources provide us with fish and wildlife, natural beauty and serenity, and opportunities for many kinds of outdoor recreation. Maintaining the quality of these waters and the beauty of their shorelands protects these attributes and supports our important homebuilding, tourism, and recreation industries (Shoreland Management Program Assessment, WiDNR)."
For more information, visit the DNR's website.