That forest looks a heck of a lot like the state of Minnesota doesn't it? Before you cry 'PHOTOSHOPPED' let me tell you that this image sourced from Google Maps is 100% legit! It showed up on Reddit yesterday before City Pages picked up on it, and you can find it for yourself on Google Maps a mere 6 hours north of the Twin Cities in Williams, MN:
So what's the deal here? Surely this isn't a naturally occurring feature, so who's behind it? A comment left on the City Pages blog presents a pretty interesting perspective that points to an artistic logger:
I have been aware of this timber harvest shaped like the state of MN border for about 8 years. I was a forester in northern Minnesota for some time and I can tell you this. This is state forest land, managed by DNR Division of Forestry. The state employs foresters to design timber harvests to meet many objectives including ecological and economic ones. The forester who designed this timber sale is a veteran at his craft and created this boundary line without the use of gps, but with map and compass instead. The forest type is jack pine, which is an early successional species that colonizes sites after a major disturbance and needs full sun to thrive. This species occurs in fire dependent forests. Modern timber sales mimic the effect of fire in these landscapes. As such this large opening was created to encourage it's regeneration. Loggers are contractors of the landowners/ land managers, and as such do not have discretion as to the layout of the harvest or other design features. They perform the contract. This forester must have an artistic side.
It's difficult to know exactly how long the forest has existed in this form, but one commenter on Reddit did a little research using Google Earth and claims that it could date back to 1991.
Now, this forest isn't the only Minnesota-shaped structure visible on Google Maps. There's also a pudgy-looking state-shaped lake visible from above in Clarissa, MN:
If you have any insider info on the history of this forest or know someone who may have been responsible for it, drop a line in the comments!
Source: CityPages.com + Google.com/Maps