ORONO, Maine — The Orono Bog Boardwalk ends its eighth season at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28. Volunteers will gather in the afternoon to put protective covers on the interpretative stations, cover the trailhead kiosk and get the boardwalk ready for winter, when the facility is closed to visitors.
The Orono Bog Boardwalk is managed jointly by the city of Bangor, the Orono Land Trust and the University of Maine.
Located in the Bangor City Forest and on adjacent University of Maine property, the boardwalk had a successful season in 2010, with more than 30,000 visitors taking advantage of the beauty of a walk through a northern peat bog.
Visitors come to the boardwalk for many reasons — family outings, physical fitness, nature viewing and photography, solitude and education, to name just a few.
Every year, volunteer boardwalk guides lead school and other groups on tours of this unusual habitat.
In 2010, boardwalk volunteers led 24 such groups, guiding more than 750 schoolchildren and others on an educational journey along the mile-long walk. The boardwalk also serves as an outdoor classroom for several University of Maine and University College of Bangor classes.
The boardwalk’s 2010 nature-walk series enlisted University of Maine faculty and other experts to lead walks about birds, plants, flowers, trees, fungi, dragonflies and hydrology. More than 100 people participated in the walks in 2010, a record number.
Boardwalk volunteers also spoke to the University of Maine Center on Aging Encore Leadership Corps and to a class at the University of Maine on nature interpretation.
Its information booths at the Orono Festival Days and the Alpha One Adaptive Fair were busy with people stopping by to talk and learn about the facility.
In September, boardwalk volunteers were pleasantly surprised to learn they had been awarded a Certificate of Service Appreciation by the Maine Disabilities Education Coalition. This was the first award earned by all the boardwalk volunteers and it was accepted with great pride.
The otherwise successful year was marred, unfortunately, over Labor Day weekend when vandals forced the closure of the boardwalk for two days.
The response from the community was gratifying, in terms of monetary donations and offers of help with repairs. The 140 person-hours it took to get the damage repaired and the facility ready for reopening showed the boardwalk enjoys a high level of community support.
The boardwalk will open for its ninth season on May 1, 2011.
Meanwhile, anyone wishing to purchase a Boardwalk T-shirt, a leopard frog or pitcher plant hat, or the 2011 “Song Birds of Bangor” calendar may do so by visiting the boardwalk booth at the Holiday Shoppe at the University of Maine Page Farm and Home Museum 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4.
Volunteer Boardwalk Management Committee members Jim Bird, director; Jerry Longcore, Orono Land Trust; John Daigle, University of Maine; Tracy Willette, city of Bangor; and all other boardwalk volunteers thank the many visitors and supporters and look forward to the ninth season of operation next May.