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July 30, 2015

States are understandably eager to grab bragging rights for whatever beauties of the natural world are found within their borders, and things are no different when it comes to counting lakes. But it’s tough to settle disputes when there’s no definitive ranking of lakes by state -- or even an agreed-upon definition as to what constitutes a lake.

Alaska is commonly given the top spot, claiming 3 million lakes. New Jersey has 366, at least according to HomeTownLocator.com, but another website -- disagreeing as to what constitutes “lakehood” -- knocks that number down to 202.

Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey’s largest freshwater body, covers 2,560 acres (about 4 square miles) and boasts 45 miles of shoreline. It’s located between Sussex and Morris counties. Second-largest is Hunterdon County’s Round Valley Reservoir, at 2,350 acres. It’s also the state’s deepest lake, going down 180 feet.

Sadly, none of these lakes even cracks the country’s Top 100, with the last-place holder, Arkansas’ Beaver Lake, being 40 square miles larger than Lake Hopatcong.

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