A giant, black wandering bog has suddenly appeared in North Long Lake, Minnesota and no-one knows why.
Weighing 1,000 tons bog is roaming the waters of the 6,000-acre lake, smashing a dock and boat lifts in its path.
No-one has ever seen a floating bog this large before. It’s the size of three football fields.
Fifteen years ago, a massive opening dubbed by locals as the “black hole” appeared in the lake’s ice and didn’t close all winter, puzzling residents and scientists, too. The black hole stayed open for two winters, swallowing more than a dozen unsuspecting snowmobiles and ATVs. Locals speculated it about Godzilla, UFOs and meteor strikes.
The cause of the black hole was never determined and the giant bog that has appeared now is equally puzzling.
So, now North Long Lake has its own kind ow Loch Ness monster, but this one destroys anything coming its way.
“There’s never been one ever seen this large before,” says Bill Schmidt, president of the lake association. “It’s kind of the wild beast of North Long Lake right now.
“When it was out in the middle of the lake and the wind was blowing, it was just a monster coming at you. Came down this way and just crushed these docks,” says Schmidt, pointing at the remnants of one such dock.
The bog drifted almost 2 miles, where it parked in shallow water on the shoreline smack in front of the swimming beach and boat launch at Legionville, a summer camp and training center for Minnesota school patrol guards.
Schmidt hopes it stays there, but it’s entirely up to Mother Nature.
“The wind decides where it goes and when,” Schmidt said, noting that the bog’s trees and thick, head-high stands of cattails and bulrushes act as a very effective sail. “This is a monster.”
So what caused the bog to break free in the first place?
The lake’s water level has been unusually high this fall, and the rising water probably loosened the chunk of land from the marshy shore, said Kevin Martini, a fisheries specialist with the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Brainerd.
“We run into eight to 10 bogs a year in the Brainerd area,” he said. “This is unusual because of the size. It’s the largest one I’ve ever heard of.”
Since the DNR considers bogs natural habitat and their movement a natural process, it has no plans to move the massive mat of vegetation, Martini said.
But the agency will usually grant a free permit to anyone who asks to move a bog, he added.
Schmidt said the lake association hopes to stake down the bog and keep it in place until a long-term solution can be found to keep it from drifting. Towing or pushing it with boats are possibilities, too, he said, but it’s not a simple task.
“If I asked you to put a rope around the city of Brainerd and move it to Minneapolis, how would you do it?” he said, estimating that it might take as many as 100 boats to shift the bog.