BRAINERD, Minn. - Crews are attempting to move a giant bog that broke loose last fall, wreaking havoc on North Long Lake.
The bog, roughly the size of three football fields, broke free in October. It took out some docks on the north shore of the lake a couple of weeks later, then eventually floated back and settled just off the beach at the Legionville Safety Camp.
The camp needs the beach for summer trainings, so they are now relying on a massive volunteer effort to try to move the bog back to where it was originally, a quarter mile down the shore.
A handful of boats tried to tow the huge bog on Wednesday, while an excavator and several pieces of machinery pushed from shore. That wasn't successful as of Wednesday late morning, and the crews turned to another plan: breaking the bog into smaller pieces.
The DNR was at the scene overseeing efforts. Outreach Garage lent several pieces of equipment and Evinrude provided some outboard motors.
Late in the day, crews successfully cut the bog in half with a tow truck and large cable, but boats were still unable to move half of the bog.
"It's kicked our butt. Let's just be honest here. We never thought we'd have this much trouble," said Kevin Martini with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "It's been a little bit of a downer here today but we've made progress now. We've cut it. We're going to cut it again."
Tow trucks and thousands of feet of cable were twice used to move and anchor a large wandering bog in Barron County, Wisconsin, most recently in 2011.
“There’s never been one ever seen this large before,” said Bill Schmidt, president of the lake association, back in October. “It’s kind of the wild beast of North Long Lake right now.”
Despite suggests by some spectators to use explosives. The DNR says the bog is a wildlife habitat and explosives are off-limits in all public waterways.
"It wouldn't do anything anyway. You'd just make a mess out of it," Martini said. "You'd just blow holes in the bottom of the lake."
Despite getting offers from several bog removal services, Schmidt says neither the Legionville camp nor the North Long Lake Association can afford the quoted prices, which ranged from $60,000 to more than $100,000.
The volunteers are expected to return to the lake on Wednesday to tow the newly cut pieces of the bog back to the shore where it came from. They will then use cables and beams to put the beast on a leash.
"We'll tie it to a tree so it doesn't leave again," Schmidt said.