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Bog Walk builders complete major hurdle

Volunteers work to put down the final deck panels on the bogwalk

The Old Wadena Society has made landfall after a seven-year voyage.

Members of the society joined with M. State -Staples students last week to put down the final dock panels that will connect the east and west shores of a large bog at Old Wadena Park.

The Bog Walk project was proposed to the society by former Soil and Water Conservation District Officer Valerie Berglund-Garcia.

The society originally approached a private contractor to do the work but the $35,000 price tag was not in their budget so some alternatives had to be explored.

“The total cost for us has been $13,000,” said Society Leader Tom Kajer. A $10,000 grant from the 3M Foundation has picked up most of that cost.

With so many lakeshore home owners switching from steel docks to aluminum docks, the society went hunting for steel docks that people would donate for the work. Their efforts turned up 19 docks.

The donated docks were all be taken apart at the farm of Society Member Mike Johnson, refurbished with new planking, and then transported to the site.

Work on the walk has been done in the fall because of the mosquito problem in the summer. The dock panels rest on steel posts which have been pushed to the bottom of the bog. In the middle of the bog, the posts go down 21 feet.

The bog at Old Wadena Park was formed by the melting of glacier ice 10,000 years ago. It was a small lake at one time but as it filled up with decomposed plant material it turned into a bog.

Future visitors to the park will be able to get a close look at the bog once the walk opens. A trail leading from the park’s picnic area on the Crow Wing River through a wooded area and under a huge white pine known as the “Old Warrior Tree” will receive a coating of wood chips as the project comes to a close but the hardest part of the job is done.

“It’s great to have it finished,” Kajer said.