Vandals force closure of Orono Bog Boardwalk

Orono Bog Boardwalk director Jim Bird, right, conferred with volunteer Jerry Ledwith, center, of Bangor and boardwalk maintenance supervisor Phil Locke, left, of Bangor as they retrieved a broken bench that was removed and thrown from its footing near the north end of the  boardwalk. They learned Monday morning that various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday.  BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Orono Bog Boardwalk director Jim Bird, right, conferred with volunteer Jerry Ledwith, center, of Bangor and boardwalk maintenance supervisor Phil Locke, left, of Bangor as they retrieved a broken bench that was removed and thrown from its footing near the north end of the boardwalk. They learned Monday morning that various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Posted Sept. 06, 2010, at 11:23 a.m.
Orono Bog Boardwalk maintenance supervisor Phil Locke (cq), left, of Bangor and boardwalk volunteer Jerry Ledwith of Bangor look over a broken latch to the front gate of the boardwalk after learning Monday morning that various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday.  BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Orono Bog Boardwalk maintenance supervisor Phil Locke (cq), left, of Bangor and boardwalk volunteer Jerry Ledwith of Bangor look over a broken latch to the front gate of the boardwalk after learning Monday morning that various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Orono Bog Boardwalk director Jim Bird looks over the damage, including these this railing near the north end of the  boardwalk. He and others learned  Monday morning that various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday.  BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Orono Bog Boardwalk director Jim Bird looks over the damage, including these this railing near the north end of the boardwalk. He and others learned Monday morning that various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Left to right: Orono Bog Boardwalk director Jim Bird shows the vandalized door frame of the boardwalk's maintenance cabin Monday morning. Bird learned Monday morning that the cabin and various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday.  BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Left to right: Orono Bog Boardwalk director Jim Bird shows the vandalized door frame of the boardwalk's maintenance cabin Monday morning. Bird learned Monday morning that the cabin and various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Left to right: Orono Bog Boardwalk maintenance supervisor Phil Locke of boardwalk director Jim Bird and volunteer Jerry Ledwith repair the boardwalk maintenance cabin Monday morning. It sustained signage and doorway damage. They learned Monday morning that the cabin and various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)
Left to right: Orono Bog Boardwalk maintenance supervisor Phil Locke of boardwalk director Jim Bird and volunteer Jerry Ledwith repair the boardwalk maintenance cabin Monday morning. It sustained signage and doorway damage. They learned Monday morning that the cabin and various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)
Orono Bog Boardwalk director Jim Bird looks over the damage, including these trampled hemlock planks on the boardwalk after learning Monday morning that various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday.  BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Orono Bog Boardwalk director Jim Bird looks over the damage, including these trampled hemlock planks on the boardwalk after learning Monday morning that various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Orono Bog Boardwalk director Jim Bird looks over the damage, including these this railing and interpreter station on the north end of the  boardwalk. He and others learned  Monday morning that various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)
Orono Bog Boardwalk director Jim Bird looks over the damage, including these this railing and interpreter station on the north end of the boardwalk. He and others learned Monday morning that various sections the boardwalk were vandalized sometime after it closed for the evening Sunday. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)
Jerrry Longcore, right,  of Orono, a member of the Orono Bog Boardwalk management board, holds new hemlock planks as he watches fellow volunteers repair the railing and interpreter station at the north end of the Orono Bog Boardwalk Tuesday. The vandals damaged the  boardwalk early Monday morning, uprooting benches, interpreter stations and other parts of the wood infrastructure. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)
BDN
Jerrry Longcore, right, of Orono, a member of the Orono Bog Boardwalk management board, holds new hemlock planks as he watches fellow volunteers repair the railing and interpreter station at the north end of the Orono Bog Boardwalk Tuesday. The vandals damaged the boardwalk early Monday morning, uprooting benches, interpreter stations and other parts of the wood infrastructure. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)

ORONO, Maine — A group of criminals raised havoc at the Orono Bog Boardwalk on Sunday night, causing so much damage that the mile-long boardwalk was forced to close, director Jim Bird said Monday morning.

“It’s a real mess,” he said. “We have to close today and maybe tomorrow.”

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The damage was discovered just after 7 a.m. by Wendall Trembley, who was opening the boardwalk for the day. Bird estimated it will cost “hundreds, maybe thousands” to repair.

“They basically ripped off 20-25 benches,” which are placed every 200 feet along the boardwalk, he said. “They smashed about 20 deck boards with their boots.”

They also broke into the cabin, ripping the door off its hinges and stealing at least one item from inside, damaged railings and destroyed nearly half of the interpretive signs.

“They ripped off six and threw them into the bog,” Bird said.

To get to the boardwalk, the group also broke the lock on the gate.

The bog walk allows visitors to walk or use wheelchairs to make their way through a northern peat bog. It is located in the Bangor City Forest and on adjacent University of Maine property and last year had more than 30,000 visitors.

Visitors on Labor Day were stopped at the broken gate.

“We’ve had to turn away about 25 people so far since 8 a.m.,” Bird said around 10 a.m. Monday.

Two of those turned away on Monday were Bangor resident Amanda Turcotte who brought along Matthew Parks of Milford, who had never seen the boardwalk.

“There is no other ecological system like a bog,” she said. “It’s beautiful here.”

The two were saddened to hear about the vandalism.

“I’ve heard quite a bit about the place,” Parks said. “There are few places like this that are relatively untouched.

“It’s frustrating” that someone would damage it, he said.

Bangor police were called to the scene and are investigating the crime, he said.

Those with information about the investigation may call the Bangor Police Department at 947-7385. The department’s anonymous tip line may be reached by pressing extension 6.

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