Film director John Carpenter produced a movie in the 1980s called ‘The Fog’. He might want to consider producing another once based on an occurrence in North Long Lake, Minnesota.
Atlas Obscura writes that a four acre stretch of bog, weighing in at an estimated 1,000 tons, has come unmoored from its lakeside site and has drifted around the one-mile North Long Lake.
— Chas (@chasdiem) March 7, 2018
Presently it is frozen in place 400 yards from its previous position, but it did have quite the voyage before it bedded down for the winter. Dubbed “the wild beast of North Long Lake”, the bog was set loose on a blustery morning last October and immediately started wreaking havoc.
Atlas Obscura reports that “Bill Schmidt, president of the North Long Lake Association, remembers the phone call from a resident at the north end of the lake. ‘They said there was this huge chunk of land floating towards them,’ he says. ‘And they were sitting there having coffee and it just kept coming. It destroyed their dock and boat lifts and they wanted to know what to do about it.’”
Believe it or not, floating islands and bogs (which in many cases are the same) are not uncommon. That being said, ones the size of the beast of North Long Lake are rare. Floating bogs are usually made up of peat moss laced throughout with cattails and tamarack trees.
The massive structures float due to the gases it emits from decomposing material from submerged material.
“Where they’re best developed, you’ve got 5,000 years of sphagnum peat accumulation,” says Sue Galatowitsch, a wetland ecologist at the University of Minnesota. “Most of it’s dead. The only stuff that’s alive is the three or four inches at the top.”
Before the winter grip on it vanishes, residents of North Long Lake are struggling to decide what to do with the bog.
When it came to rest for the year, local authorities impaled wooden poles and erected a barrier around it to keep it at its present site.
That has not sat well with Randy Tesdahl, who heads the American Legion’s summer camp area, where the bog now resides next to, called Legionville.
“There was some anger, quite honestly, and some discontent,” says the American Legion’s Tesdahl. Summer camp manager Roy Kruger complained to a local newspaper that he was going to lose business because of the bog. “So the person who staked it there is the responsible party,” he said. “So they’re going to have to move it, [or] they’re gonna get sued.”
The community, however, did come together.
“I said, ‘We gotta turn this into lemonade,’” says Tesdahl. “‘Everybody do a little bit and we’ll get the thing moved and it will be a feel-good story.’” The DNR, the American Legion and the neighboring North Long Lake Association have agreed to split the $100,000 cost of transferring the bog.
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