Blocker of a bog: It's not monstrous, but good sized bog breaks off on Gilbert Lake
It is not as massive as the infamous one that broke off from the shoreline in October 2017 in Merrifield Bay on North Long Lake—but another bog is causing property damage on a different Brainerd area lake.
Property owners on Gilbert Lake—which runs along the west side Riverside Drive, on the northside of Brainerd—had an unwanted surprise when they looked out their windows Tuesday night, April 23, just before the sun went down — a bog, estimated to be about 50 yards wide, was floating around the channel that runs between a smaller bay and the main portion of the lake.
Lake Gilbert covers 369 acres with 7.8 miles of shoreline and has a maximum depth of 45 feet. The lake consists of three portions—a small bay to the west that lakeshore owners call "Gilbert 3," the main portion of the lake, known as "Gilbert 2" and then a narrow, long portion running south of the main body of the lake known as "Gilbert 1."
The bog is in the curved channel between the main body of the lake and the bay.
As the day progressed Wednesday, another two pieces of bogland cut loose to add to the number of bogs floating around the channel, blocking traffic from entering into Gilbert 3 from the main lake.
"Another bog just came through and damaged my dock," Lakeshore owner Thomas Schneider said. "The first two bogs merged together and a third one is passing my house and damaged all four of my dock sections. I don't know how this will be straightened out.
"I talked to the DNR and they nicely explained to me that they don't deal with bogs and would issue us a permit (to deal with the bog). ... I may have to start a GoFundMe account. ... I'm not exactly sure how to handle it."
Schneider, who has lived on Gilbert Lake for 40 years, has only seen one bog about 30 years ago before this week. Schneider said this is the highest the water level has ever been.
Neighbors Dan and Mary Claire Ryan, who have lived on the lake for more than 30 years, also were surprised to see the bogs.
"It's a great lake to be on and now we're going to have the same struggles as North Long Lake did with this bog," Mary Claire Ryan said.
The 2017 North Long Lake bog was about 200 feet by 800 feet and estimated to be 4,000 tons, or 8 million pounds. A bog is a natural wetland consisting of marsh, dead plant materials, cattails and, this bog, also had a line of tamarack trees. The North Long Lake bog caused stress among the lakeshore owners as it floated around Merrifield Bay and did plenty of property damage of docks and shoreline before it landed on the Legionville School Safety Patrol Training Center's swimming beach. The bog sat at Legionville for the remaining part of 2017 and in the spring of 2018 volunteers with the North Long Lake Association, the Minnesota DNR and the Minnesota American Legion moved the bog off the beach after weeks of hard work and preparation.
Mary Claire Ryan said usually there is a ridge of land that would stop the bog from going into the main part of the lake. However, the water level is high and with the ice just going out this past weekend, she is not sure where the bog will drift off.
The Ryans said if the bogs stay where they are now, it will cause navigational issues as boats will not be able to get through from the main portion of the lake to the small bay to the northwest. Canoes, kayaks and smaller boats should be able to pass.
The neighbors said anglers will not like it if the bogs remain where they are, as the channel is known to have good crappie fishing. The lake also is known to have northern pike, bluegill and bass.
Kevin Martini with the Brainerd DNR office, who works in aquatic plant management and helped organize and assist with the North Long Lake bog, said this is the first call this year of a larger floating bog in Crow Wing County. He did have two other calls from surrounding counties about much smaller floating bogs.
Martini talked with Schneider and offered him some advice on how to move the bog, such as using a few boats and then staking it down. He said the DNR would issue them a permit if they decide to move it.
Todd Froemming, president of the Gilbert Lake Association, said at this time he is not sure what they will do with the bogs. He said the association will work with the DNR and see what the best action will be and monitor the bog to see if it floats to another part of the lake.
Froemming said there are a bunch of pockets around the lake with no houses, so if the bogs land along that shoreline there shouldn't be any problems.
"This is the highest the water has ever been," Froemming said. "We'll have to keep an eye on the bog and see what happens. Right now, the biggest thing is the bogs are blocking the channel and this will upset a lot of crappie fishermen. It's a good spot. Spring is the busiest time on this lake."