Brainerd's battle with a monster breakaway bog entered its second week Thursday with volunteers embarking on a new strategy to bust it up once and for all.
A week after excavators and power boats failed to budge the floating mat of muck, bulrushes and tamarack trees from a beachfront on North Long Lake, volunteers have resorted to Plan B: cut it up to make it easier to move.
"We've done some cutting and stuff, trying to get it in smaller chunks," Bill Schmidt, president of the North Long Lake Association, said Thursday. "You get it in smaller chunks and it's a lot more manageable, and that's the process we're working on now."
The crew made a little headway Thursday, but not enough, said Kevin Martini of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
"We got it moved some, but we didn't have enough boats," he said. "Not all our volunteers showed up. So we didn't get it moved out to where we wanted it, and out of there.
"Some success — but not what we were hoping for today."
Breakaway bogs are fairly common on Minnesota lakes, but few are as large as this one, DNR officials have said. They estimate the bog covers about 4 acres and weighs as much as 4,000 tons — or 8 million pounds.
It broke loose last October, on Friday the 13th, and rampaged around North Long Lake for a week, taking out several docks and boat lifts before settling at the beach at Legionville, a summer training camp for school safety guards operated by the American Legion.
The bog now completely blocks the beach where campers take swimming, boating and canoe safety lessons. Volunteers hope to get at least part of the bog moved before campers start arriving next month.
The original plan, launched last week, was to get the bog off the beach with a half-dozen powerful boats pulling on it while heavy excavators and Bobcat-type vehicles pushed from the opposite side. Despite a daylong effort, the bog wouldn't budge.
Now workers are using heavy steel cables to cut the bog into smaller pieces. They hope to move the chunks several hundreds yards along the shore to the spot where it's believed to have originally broken free.