BRAINERD, Minn.-The ice is out, and residents are preparing to move the monstrous floating bog on North Long Lake that made its home last fall in front of the Legionville School Safety Patrol Training Center.
The bog broke away from the shoreline in October in Merrifield Bay on North Long Lake, north of Brainerd. The wind shifted the bog a few times, until it found its final resting place for the winter in front of the Legionville camp's swimming beach.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported the bog to be about three football fields in size-about 200 feet by 800 feet. Last October, homeowners around the lake watched the bog-a natural wetland consisting of marsh, dead plant materials, cattails and, in this case, a line of tamarack trees-floating around the bay and wondered where it would land permanently. When the bog appeared to find a resting spot, landowners intended to come up with a plan to manage it, but the bog disappeared and floated to a new location.
The Minnesota American Legion, which owns Legionville, and the North Long Lake Association anchored the bog and have made preparations to move it. Now is the time, officials from both organizations said.
North Long Lake Association President Bill Schmidt said Monday, May 14, the plan is to move the bog Wednesday, May 16, close to where it originated-just northeast of the camp. So far, the lake association has close to 20 volunteers for the process. Schmidt sent an email to property owners in an attempt to gather as many volunteers as possible to prepare for the move.
"We will need several work parties in place to move the bog, and we will need many volunteers to make this happen," Schmidt stated in his email. "The late ice off has made it difficult to secure barges, so we are looking for the use of larger boats and/or pontoons with larger motors ... and (are) also looking for at least one four-wheeler."
Schmidt stated the association will need at least five boats and drivers; two to three people to control car traffic at Legionville; two to three people to help control people on the camping grounds; four people to help Peterson Towing move the cable to the lake; five people to act as spotters for each barge, boat and pontoon pulling and pushing the bog; two to three people standing on platforms watching for safety and operational issues; and three to four people who can relieve someone who needs a break for various reasons.
Schmidt said the lake association, the Minnesota American Legion and the DNR are working together to ensure every safety precaution is in place to get the job done. An outboard motor company, Evinrude, also is helping with the move.
"A lot of pieces need to be put together to make this a success," Schmidt said. "I am feeling very good about everything. Our No. 1 concern is how hard will it be to get it to move, but once the bog is moving, we will get it very close to where it came from."
The Legionville camp serves about 700 youths each summer and was established by the Minnesota American Legion for the purpose of training young people in correct school patrol procedures. School safety and bus patrol training is the primary focus of the camp, however other classes campers attend are first aid, watercraft safety and swim safety, Legionville's website states.