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Koochiching County is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesotamarker. As of 2000, the population was 14,355. Its county seat is International Fallsmarker . A portion of the Bois Forte Indian Reservation is in the county. A small part of Voyageurs National Parkmarker extends into its northeast corner.


Historymakers of Koochiching County were of many occupations. They were explorers, traders, homesteaders, and lumberjacks. They also were teachers, preachers, merchants, engineers, and builders of industry. Settlers came at the beginning of the 1900s and suffered through isolation, illness, harsh weather, and poverty. They built schools, churches, and good roads. Koochiching County is the second largest county next to St. Louis Countymarker. It is also one of the youngest counties in the state having been created in 1906 after it was separated from Itasca County. The name "Koochiching" comes from either the Ojibwe word Gojijiing or Cree Kocicīhk (recorded in some documents as "Ouchichiq"), both meaning "at the place of inlets," referring to the neighboring Rainy Lakemarker and Rivermarker. Reverand J.A. Gilfillan recorded their meaning, "according to some, Neighbor lake, according to others a lake somewhere," possibly referring to Lake Couchichingmarker located in southern Ontariomarker. Early European (French) inhabitants gave the names Lac à la Pluie (Rainy Lake) and Rivière à la Pluie (Rainy River) to the nearby bodies of water because of the mist-like rain present at the falls of Rainy River and then to the settlement that became known as International Fallsmarker. About 10,000 years ago almost 90% of Koochiching County was covered by Lake Agassizmarker. Thus when is receded it left low areas of decay of vegetation and about three-quarters of northern Koochiching are underlain with peat.

Presidential Election Results 2000-2008
Year Democrat Republican
2008 53.65% 3649 43.55% 2962
2004 50.10% 3662 48.42% 3539
2000 42.20% 2903 51.21% 3523


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,154 square miles (8,170 km²), of which 3,102 square miles (8,035 km²) is land and 52 square miles (135 km²) (1.65%) is water. Major rivers in the county are Big Fork River, Little Fork River, Rat Root River, Black River, and Rapid River. The highest altitude in the county is in the Northomemarker area which is 1426 feet above sea level which is about 325 feet higher than Rainy Lakemarker. The land surface is mostly flat with swampy areas where Lake Agassizmarker basin was deepest. There are also deposits of peat from 1 1/2 to 50 feet in the low areas which is a result from vegetation. The general surface of Koochiching County is flat with spots of land broken in places by ledges of precambrian rock. Bed rock in the area includes ely greenstone and greenstone schists that are said to be among the oldest on the planet. In the northeastern tip of the county is a section of Voyageurs National Parkmarker and Black Bay. Franz Jevne State Parkmarker is located on Rainy River between International Fallsmarker and Baudettemarker.

Major highways

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Voyageurs National Park



As of the census of 2000, there were 14,355 people, 6,040 households, and 3,962 families residing in the county. The population density was 5 people per square mile (2/km²). There were 7,719 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.12% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 2.15% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. 0.56% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 21.2% were of Norwegian, 19.8% German, 12.3% Swedish and 7.0% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 6,040 households out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.30% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.40% were non-families. 30.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the county the population was spread out with 23.90% under the age of 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 25.80% from 25 to 44, 26.00% from 45 to 64, and 18.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 98.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,262, and the median income for a family was $43,608. Males had a median income of $40,642 versus $22,261 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,167. About 8.40% of families and 12.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.10% of those under age 18 and 13.40% of those age 65 or over.


Koochiching is unique in Minnesota, in the sense that there are no organized civil township governments within the county. Survey townships, as defined by the Public Land Survey System exist but none are organized. Six city governments have been created, and the rest of the county consists of unorganized territories.

Cities Unorganized Unincorporated

Koochiching County is the location of the fictional town of Frostbite Falls, the home of the animated characters Rocky and Bullwinkle. Frostbite Falls is widely assumed to have been named in honor of International Falls.


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