When Cass County was created by legislative act on May 1, 1851, it became one of ten counties that existed in the Minnesota Territory. It remained as a created county and had no county officers until March 4, 1872, when it was first organized as a county, with its boundaries reduced as slices had been cut off when the following counties were established: Wright, Steams, Meeker, Todd, Morrison, Pope, Douglas, Ottertail, Wadena, Aitkin, Crow Wing, and Becker. Our county seat was located in West Brainerd, complete with a building that was used as a courthouse.


Cass County remained a part of Crow Wing County until the re-organization in 1897. Cass County was fully organized on May 6, 1897, and Governor Clough had appointed P.H. McGarry of Walker, G.H. French of Cohasset, O.T. Wilson of Ellis, James F. Middleton of Backus, and T.J. Nary of Walker as the county's first commissioners. These commissioners then met that same day and also on the 7th to appoint the officers of the county. The county board established the county seat at Walker on May 7th and purchased a new brick building in Block 14, the original plat of Walker. That building presently houses the Walker General Store. On May 8th, the chairman of the commissioners appointed a committee to proceed to Brainerd and secure all books pertinent to our county. Construction on our present courthouse began in 1902-03 and the building was dedicated on April 5, 1907.


Cass County has 50 organized townships today, the first of which was Byron Township in 1898 and the last was Ottertail Peninsula in 1987. Cass County also has 14 unorganized townships and 15 incorporated cities.   

Population Statistics 

These statistics are maintained by the United States Census Bureau, census data is collected every 10 years. Additionally, the Minnesota State Demographer is required by law to produce annual population and household estimates for Minnesota (MN) counties, cities and townships. 

2020 U.S. Census Data Reference Maps

Water Management   

Cass County is comprised of 1,544,960 acres, of that total 16% or 251,520 acres, is covered by lakes, rivers, and streams, and an additional 26% or 401,000 acres is covered by wetlands. Shoreline frontage within Cass County is comprised of approximately 2,300 miles of protected lakeshore and 2,200 miles of protected river, which includes approximately 40 miles of the Mississippi River in the north and 30 miles along the Crow Wing River in the south.  Additional information can be found in the Cass County Local Water Management Plan (PDF).

Forest Resources Management

Cass County administers about 258,000 acres of tax-forfeited land or 20% of the county’s total area. Just over three-quarters of this land is forested with the rest being brush, water, or developed (e.g., forest roads, gravel pits, etc.). The single largest forest cover type is aspen, which covers 67% of the commercial forest.  Oak covers nearly 6%, northern hardwoods 4%, and total deciduous cover types are 86% of the commercial forest.  Additional information can be found in the Cass County Forest Resources Management Plan (PDF).

Land Ownership Statistics (updated July 2023)

Ownership TypeAcresPercent
Public Water or Right-of-Way248,20316%
County Administered Lands251,47316%
County Lands6,686Less than 1%
State Lands193,98713%
Federal Lands290,13519%
Tribal Lands19,2631%
Other Exempt Lands*7,541Less than 1%
Private Lands527,41534%

*Includes Township, City, and Non-profits.  County and township maps depicting ownership are available on the County Maps webpage.

2011 National Land Cover Database Statistics   

Land Cover TypeAcresPercent
Open Water246,03716%
Developed, Open Space39,8813%
Developed, Low Intensity6,392Less than 1%
Developed, Medium Intensity1,150Less than 1%
Developed, High Intensity219Less than 1%
Barren Land510Less than 1%
Deciduous Forest615,27440%
Evergreen Forest74,4125%
Mixed Forest26,7262%
Cultivated Crops21,7581%
Woody Wetlands215,52114%
Emergent Herbaceous Wetlands125,4388%

Additional information can be found on the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC) website.

Taxpayer Demographics

Resident vs. Non-resident Taxpayer Mailing AddressesZipcode Summary 2022

2023 Homestead Status - Private Lands (Updated July 2023)

Homestead StatusPercent

2023 Property Classification Summary - Private Lands (Updated July 2023)

Primary ClassificationAcresPercent
Community-Oriented239Less than 1%
Other (Non-homestead)1,745Less than 1%
Resort1,217Less than 1%
Seasonal Residential/Recreational96,81818%
Undeveloped or Managed Forest Land132,78625%