Big Bog State Recreation Area – Northwest

Parks & Geology / Monday, October 1st, 2018


The northern portion of Big Bog State Recreational Area is composed mostly of wetlands.

The bog’s geological patterns formed over the past 5,000 years, and you can see it still present in the glacial ridges, depressions, and ovoid islands.

Considered one of the best-kept secrets in northern Minnesota, the 500-square-mile peat bog is the largest in the lower 48 states.

The greater Big Bog region stretches from Upper Red Lake in Beltrami County to Lake of the Woods County and includes the Upper Red Lake Peatland, a National Natural Landmark under the Historic Sites Act.

The area remains mostly pristine as it was a significant barrier to European settlers who tried to drain the swamp lands.

It was considered a waste land so much so that U.S. Navy pilots practiced bombing the area in the 1950s and ’60s!

Hike on the mile-long raised boardwalk that extends across the bog. The wheelchair accessible boardwalk was completed in 2005 and gives you a front row view of some of the nation’s natural history.
You can get up close to the tall, thin trees (mostly tamarack and black spruce) protruding from sprawling blankets of heavy, warm peatland.
You can observe more than 300 species of birds and numerous rare plants, including carnivorous sundews and pitcher plants. Big Bog is a mix of fen, boreal conifers, boreal hardwoods, conifer swamp forest, hardwood swamp forest, and open sphagnum bog.
Interesting fact: Sphagnum moss is considered antiseptic and three times more absorbent than cotton. It was once used to dress wounds and was even a component of primitive diapers.

This post was brought to you by Explore Minnesota, but opinions are all my own.#onlyinmn

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