Something magical happens this time of year. The Orono Bog Boardwalk opens for the season at 7 a.m. Sunday, May 1.
The Boardwalk, located in the Bangor City Forest, is perhaps the premier nature excursion destination in the area, a “must-go” place for those seeking to experience a northern peat bog and its rare beauty. Among the treasures are several species of orchids, cotton grass, carnivorous pitcher plants and sundews, high-bush blueberries, skunk cabbage, cranberries and wildlife both small and large. Those who have visited many times know that the bog changes day to day, week to week, and there is always something new to notice.
Seven interpretive stations are located along the Boardwalk to inform visitors about the plant and animal life to be found in this unusual wetland habitat.
Since it opened in June 2003, the Boardwalk has been visited by more than 30,000 people each year. They come for exercise, solitude, family outings, birdwatching — best in spring — educational tours, or to photograph nature. As an ADA-compliant facility, the Boardwalk is
fully accessible to those using wheelchairs or strollers. Wheelchair turn-arounds are located
every 200 feet along the length of the Boardwalk, each offering bench seats for restful enjoyment of the surroundings.
Each year, natural history specialists and volunteer guides lead many tours and group programs here. School groups from pre-school through university level, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, garden clubs, conference visitors and others have taken advantage of this free educational opportunity. Group tours, with special arrangements for bus parking, may be made with email@example.com (Include “Orono Bog Boardwalk” in subject line). To allow time for assigning and preparing volunteer staff, please make reservation at least two weeks in advance of planned group visit.
The Boardwalk offers specialized walks led by experts on flowers, birds, bog hydrology, insects, and even poetry, with more sessions being added for the 2011 season. The programs are free but space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Check the Boardwalk website for program listings, updates and additions, and registration information: http://www.oronobogwalk.org.
Jointly managed by the Orono Land Trust, the City of Bangor, and the University of Maine, the Boardwalk is operated entirely by volunteers who serve as tour guides, maintenance workers or docents who greet visitors and answer questions. Training is provided for all volunteer positions.
Tour guide and docent training will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 30. To volunteer and to register for training, contact firstname.lastname@example.org (Include “Orono Bog Boardwalk” in the subject line). Students wishing to fulfill service learning requirements are encouraged to consider becoming an Orono Bog Boardwalk volunteer.
In addition, the Boardwalk’s continued operation is made possible through the generosity of many monetary contributors. To support the Boardwalk maintenance and programming, make checks payable to the University of Maine Foundation, with “Orono Bog Boardwalk” on the memo line, sent to the Foundation at 2 Alumni Place, Orono ME 04469. To support the endowment for long-term operation, donors are invited to sponsor one of the Boardwalk’s 509 8-foot sections.
The Boardwalk’s is open 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily during spring and summer. Fall hours will be posted on the website.
To visit the Boardwalk, take Tripp Drive off Stillwater Avenue, about 1.5 miles north of the Bangor Mall. At the end of Tripp Drive, follow the gravel road to the Bangor City Forest parking area. There are signs directing visitors to the start of the Boardwalk, which is ¼ mile of level trail away.
For information, contact Orono Bog Boardwalk Director email@example.com or 581-1697.