The Central Minnesota
Sustainable Development Plan



Our Story

Population:  313

Median Age:  45.1

Median Income:   $21,630

Area:   488 acres/ 1.02 square miles

Most Common Industry:  Hospitality, Wholesale, Manufacturing



The city of Hackensack was officially put on the map in 1903 and received its name from James Curo, the first to settle in the area.  Curo traveled from Hackensack, N.J. in 1884 and settled in Lathrop, which was a few miles north of where the city is now located.  He opened the first grocery store, general store and post office all within the log home that he built to live in.  Lathrop was abandon in 1896, as settlers started to build around Curo’s business and the railroad came through.

Hackensack is located on the eastern shore of Birch Lake, right in the heart of “Lake Country”, with Brainerd 50 miles south and Bemidji 14 miles north.  There are 127 lakes within a 10-mile radius of Hackensack.  Outdoor attractions abound.  In the area are the Foothills State Forest, the Chippewa National Forest, the North Country Walking Trail, Deep Portage Reserve and the Paul Bunyan Trail.  Northern Lights Casino is just a few miles north. 

The city has a lot to offer whether you are passing through on the Paul Bunyan Trail, staying the weekend in a quaint cabin or looking to relocate to the community.  One resident said, “We have been told by many travelers on the Paul Bunyan Trail that our park is the best stop on the trails”.  Nearing completion, the Paul Bunyan State Trail will be approximately 120 miles long and extend from Crow Wing State Park (south of Brainerd/Baxter) to Lake Bemidji State Park (north of Bemidji). At 112 paved miles (from Brainerd to Bemidji), the Paul Bunyan State Trail is the longest continuously paved trail in the Minnesota State Trail system, and one of the longest in the United States.  This multi-use trail accommodates hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, and snowmobiling.

The city park on Birch Lake includes a visitor’s center with a playground and beach, picnic pavilion, boat launch, city fishing pier and features a statue of Lucette, Paul Bunyan’s 17 foot sweetheart.

Thanks to the abundance of forests  and lakes, visitors and residents keep busy year round fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, bicycling, snow shoeing and cross country skiing.  Deep Portage Learning Center takes advantage of this environment to provide the region with some of the finest educational and outdoor recreational opportunities.


The community works well together to get things done.  They have many non-profit organizations including Faith in Action, Hackensack Lions Club, First Responders, Volunteer Fire Department, Legion Post 202, Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, Northwoods Arts Council, area Food Shelf and many more.  These organizations along with the community work together to accomplish many successful events and projects.  These events include the weekly children’s fishing contest, Chainsaw Event, Sweetheart Days, Ecumenical Church services, Back to Hack, the Canoe Derby, Fall Has It All and many more.

Hackensack has a lot to offer, residents and tourists alike enjoy.  

 Community members listed these additional assets: 

Natural Assets:

Paul Bunyan Trail

Several Trails: Isaac Walton Forest, Woodtick, Hiram trails.

127 lakes including: Goose Lake – 8 lakes within 5 miles

Hunting and fishing

National Forest

Red Lady Slipper (only found in one location on the trail)

Deep Portage wildlife preservation area

Abundance of wildlife

Abundant Forest


Cultural Assets:

Diverse religions. 5 active churches

Diverse population

Strong commitment to  volunteerism

Native American Culture


Rural location with urban residents


Human Assets:

Sheriff’s Office support

Area Fire Rescue and First responders

Health care providers. Essentia Health Clinic

Religious care givers. Faith in Action

Mental health providers. Pines Area Medical Development Association (PAMDA)

Majority of population volunteers.

Diversity in retired community



Social Assets:

Community festivals: Back to Hack, Sweetheart Days, Flea Market festival.

Religious activities through; Faith in Action and local churches.

Youth programs

Deep Portage events

Service Clubs; Lions, American Legion

Northwood’s Art Council events


Political Assets:

County Commissioner

Senators/State Representatives


Financial Assets:

Flea Market

Community fundraising

1st National Bank

Mann Lake LTD


Built Assets:

Ice rink

Bike trails

Assisted living facility

Paul Bunyan Trail and trail head

Hwy 371

Water/Sewer infrastructure

Ball Park

Community buildings

Lucette Statue

Paul Bunyan Jr. Statue



The community members have many ideas for what they want in their community next.  However, one dream that is already in the works is the Paws and Claws Animal Shelter.


Community Goals 


This will be a state of the art facility covering 22 acres that will offer space for dog walking, a grooming center, animal boarding as well as being a refuge for animals in need of care and a good home.  The community sees this as a “Go To” destination for many.  There is not another facility like it in Minnesota outside of the Twin Cities.  This facility will feature a dog Frisbee area, walking trails, indoor cat colony, pet grooming and an open, modern facility.  They plan to have this dream open and operational within two years!  Check out the plans at:


They would like to revitalize the community by updating the appearance of the streets and buildings.


Expanding communication access includes enhanced cellular and broadband access.  They are looking into many different options for this, although one specific idea was to utilize the water tower as an access point.


For more information about Hackensack, go to their website at