[PHOTO: Here is an example of one of the many Monument/Plaques that were erected by the city in or before 1971 for Brainerd's centennial. I believe they were physically built by the Green Thumb group. This one is in the Boom Lake area Kiwanis Park playground.]

NOTICE: This page and its 3 subpages have been moved to their own website, listed below. This first will stay here for a while until I know the move was successful. Try it out!

About 1987 the City, I assume the Park Dept. or perhaps it was the Kiwanis, developed a hiking trail in the Boom Lake area. I later read in a Dispatch This Was Brainerd clip that "plans for the development of an 'exercise trail' at Boom Lake Park were unveiled at the Brainerd City Council" was clear back in 1978. It left the paved trail and headed up a dirt path from the brewery area on the east side of the lake to the top of the 1940's ski jump hill. I don't know what precipitated it nor what became of it but I thought it was a great idea and that it should get more use. Also about that same 1987 my sister came here from CA and she was an avid jogger/walker, and asked where our walking trails were. I knew of none so she jogged the streets in the neighborhood. Now fast forward 20 years and here she is back again last/2007 summer and guess what, there are still no marked walking trails. I do know of a few newly-paved pathways but don't know how they are connected, so I saw a need for some markings or a map, or better yet, both. How nice I thought it would be to combine this trail with a system of pathways all around town that would also point out historical sites of interest, of which Brainerd has many.

So now here it is 2008 and I notice a lot of interest in both downtown development and healthy living, walking in particular. There was an article in the paper just lately about a Social Capital Survey, and the first item on the list of "what can you do?" in your community was "plan a walking tour of historic areas in yoyur town". A few days before that the front page of the paper touted a "walk don't ride" walking tour. A week later Andrew Hook was on the front page giving a talk about the economic outlook of the community, and via Marta at the library, he found me and the wheels started turning. So, this might be a good time to see if there is ENOUGH interest to get this idea off and "running" so to speak. On this page I will outline some ideas that I think would be needed to make this work. It would definitely take some volunteers from around the community! For now, this page will be fluid and I will add to it as ideas come in, and I'll change the date each time it is updated.

UPDATED 3/22/2008:


Most of this Mission Statement is already stated in the name of this project:

-"BRAINERD": This Walk and this site is dedicated to the city of, and the PEOPLE that built, Brainerd, Minnesota.

-"HISTORY": Educate the public on the history of early Brainerd, and discover its roots.

-"WALK": The theme of this Walk is just that...get out and walk!

The Brainerd History Walk shall:

-bring Brainerd history to our youth

-bring Brainerd history and memories BACK to our elders

-acknowledge city fathers and families, the "movers and shakers" that built our town

-acknowledge early businesses that built Brainerd

-promote interest in the downtown and Brainerd proper, where it all began

-provide a safe, educational yet fun, interesting and healthy route to walk

Some of the GOALS might include:

-Visit as many city parks as possible. This will help promote the city's dozen or more fine parks, and at the same time provide some water stations and bathroom facilities, and benches for resting. (See PARKS section on the left for current Memorial Bench locations. Thanks, Kim!)

-Proivide scenic overlooks.

-Provide frequent rest stops.

-Define coexisting safe routes for bicycles, so they will not pose a danger to pedestrians as well.

For more information on how this project is progressing, please see the sub-page at the left labeled Walk Planning. If you area avolunteer or would like to help, please see the sub-page labeled Volunteers.


Thanks to Andrew Hook for this overview:

The State of Minnesota 150th anniversary

Celebrating our heritage

Historic and Nature Walks


These documented walks would bring together knowledge of the history of the Brainerd Lake District, of the cultural history, social, and natural history. Different walks would be designed for different types of histories and interests and would draw on the resources and knowledge of local institutions, families and businesses, as well as on outside resources when needed. At least one or two walks could be to focus on the history of the Town of Brainerd, while others could focus on the lakes, the older historical resorts, and others on the natural beauty of the Lake District and the activities of the lakes.


Each walk will be designed with a specific audience in mind and specific interests. Initially, a working group can bring together experience and knowledge from the community to identify possible audiences and walks. The approach should be inclusive, to consider walks for young people, active people, and those who are less active. Each walk will have different stations, with each station planned at an agreed upon distance. For each station, background information will be collected and prepared in printed form. In the case of historical sites, this will include photographs, background history, and anecdotes. For the nature stations, information on the nature of the site, the flora and fauna will be prepared.

The content of the walks may be expanded or adjusted as we obtain more information about people’s interests and our resources. Existing local and national associations should be invited to participate, such as the local chapter of the Sierra Club, or local groups focusing on fishing, hunting or other outdoors activities.

For each walk docents will be identified, who will, together with the working group, review and prepare the walks. P\

As the material is being prepared, a publicity campaign should be designed and implemented. This should be designed with the specific walks in mind, and should use all appropriate existing channels, schools, colleges, libraries, businesses and others.

Next Steps

To identify a core of people for the working group for the initial walk. There is considerable interest already in an historical walk in Brainerd and this could be the starting point. The group can review what is available and seek to agree on an initial walk. The possibility of several walks should be considered, as it is not likely that there will be large demand initially for a long walk.

Andrew T. Hook

March 11, 2008.