ORONO, Maine — To look at maps of the Penjajawoc Marsh-Caribou Bog corridor from 2000 and 2009 is to see big differences in the conservation and recreation efforts that have gone on there for almost a decade.
Orono Land Trust board member Sally Jacobs said Friday night during the organization’s annual meeting at the Keith Anderson Building that those efforts have been the result of collaboration among 24 entities, including six local municipalities, the Orono and Bangor land trusts, and private donors.
When completed, the corridor will connect more than 6,000 acres of conserved land stretching from the Bangor Mall area north to the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Alton. The land is used for research and recreation and contains what is considered to be the third-most important peat bog in Maine.
“Bogs and marshes don’t know about municipal boundaries, and this is the trouble with conservation,” Jacobs said. “That’s why we have to do regional planning. That’s why this project took flight, because it was a regional project, and it looked across town boundaries so all the towns could work together.”
Jacobs and others spoke about the history of the Penjajawoc Marsh and Caribou Bog lands, the background of the conservation projects and the progress that has been made since work began in the late 1990s.
So far, the project has acquired and is conserving about 2,179 acres valued at more than $1.25 million through three Land for Maine’s Future grants along with funds and gifts from donors.
Another $1.75 million worth of land is being negotiated, Jacobs said.
“You can see, we have some holes we’re trying to plug, but we’ve made a lot of progress,” Jacobs said.
“[The project has] helped to rein in sprawl,” she continued, “because this has formed a backbone that was originally put there by the glacier [25,000 years ago]. Now we want to preserve that so future generations will be able to enjoy it, too.”
Jacobs urged members of the audience who might be planning to explore the area that some areas around the former Veazie Railroad bed are still private and blocked from access.
In addition to Jacobs’ remarks to the group Friday night, Ron Davis, a retired University of Maine biologist, spoke about the scientific background and importance of the area, and Andy Reeve, an associate professor of hydrogeology at UMaine, talked about recent research projects in the area.