June 20, 2018
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Take a pleasant and educational stroll on three Maine boardwalks

By By Brian Swart, Special Sections Editor

The 1964 Drifters’ hit “Under the Boardwalk” refers to a romantic rendezvous beneath the Coney Island Boardwalk in New York, not a boardwalk in Maine. However, many boardwalks do exist in the Pine Tree State, including three placed far from the roar of the crowd.

Corinna Boardwalk

Straddling a major crossroads in central Maine, the Town of Corinna seems the last place a boardwalk would exist. Not very long, it offers a place for people to enjoy nature in peace — and some quiet from the traffic on busy Route 7.

The Corinna Boardwalk connects pedestrians with the Central Maine Adventure Trail and reed-bordered Corundel Lake, formed by a dam spanning the East Branch of the Sebasticook River. Running from Newport to Dover-Foxcroft, the CMAT crosses Route 7 in downtown Corinna; a veterans’ memorial stands near the marked intersection.

The boardwalk’s entrance lies at forest edge about 50 yards from the memorial. Paralleling the river, the boardwalk opens onto a benched overlook before ending near Corundel Lake; a foot path then crosses the dam to the Sebasticook’s western shore.

Orono Bog Boardwalk

Reached via Stillwater Avenue and Tripp Drive in Bangor, the 4,200-foot Orono Bog Boardwalk accesses the 616-acre Orono Bog, a raised bog where peat extends 25 feet deep in places, according to the informative Web site www.oronobogwalk.org.

The boardwalk’s entrance gate stands a quarter mile from the Bangor City Forest parking lot off Tripp Drive. Designed to float atop the bog and its adjacent wetlands, the 4-foot-wide boardwalk crosses a mixed wooded fen and a conifer wooded fen (both identified by interpretive signs) while passing the marked Bangor-Orono town line.

At this boundary cleared through the thick woods, the handicap-accessible boardwalk forms a 3,400-foot, one-way loop extending onto the bog. Benches placed approximately 200 feet apart provide places for visitors to relax and enjoy nature, and more interpretive signs detail the bog’s flora and fauna. Visible in the bog near the boardwalk’s northernmost corner is a hydrological station that monitors water levels.

Bird watchers find the Orono Bog a great place to ply their trade. Bring binoculars, because smaller songbirds flit among the dwarf conifers and, except when singing, challenge identification efforts. Birds spotted in the bog include eagles, finches, hawks, jays, vireos, warblers, and woodpeckers.

Among the mammals seen along or near the boardwalk are black bears, deer, and moose, as well as the ubiquitous chipmunks and red squirrels. Do not feed the wildlife; although a nature preserve, the Orono Bog is not a wildlife park.

For many visitors, the bog’s greatest treasure lies in its plant diversity. Their roots planted in acidic soil, black spruce and tamaracks reach only dwarf height, yet live for decades in the bog. Bog laurel and sheep laurel, Labrador tea and pitcher plants, starflower and tussock cotton grass: These species and many others thrive within the bog and its outer environs, the mixed wooded fen.

Visitors are encouraged to take photos, but do so only from the boardwalk. Do not step onto the ecologically sensitive bog, where a footprint can collect water and alter the micro-environment. Collecting plants or flowers is prohibited, as are bicycles, skateboards, and smoking.

The Orono Bog Boardwalk is open daily from May 1 to late November. For more information, log onto www.oronobogwalk.org.

Quoddy Head State Park

The 1.5-mile Bog Trail at 532-acre Quoddy Head State Park in Lubec accesses West Quoddy Head Bog, a delightful natural landmark located atop West Quoddy Head in Lubec. Located at the headland’s isthmus is Carrying Place Cove Bog, a National Natural Landmark affected by Bay of Fundy waves.

To reach Quoddy Head State Park, take Route 189 east from Whiting and, at Lubec Neck, turn right (south) on South Lubec Road. At the intersection with Boot Cove Road, bear left (east) and watch for the parking lot sign just as West Quoddy Head Lighthouse becomes visible.

Several trails extend along the headland’s wave-scoured cliffs or inland through its thick white spruce-balsam fir forest. The Coastal Trail rises and falls past Gulliver’s Hole, High Ledge, and Green Point before reaching Carrying Place Cove and the South Lubec Road. The inland Thompson Trail connects the Bog Trail and the Coastal Trail.

From the gravel parking lot, follow the Inland Trail about three-eighths mile west to its intersection with the Bog Trail. This trail turns north to the boardwalk, which like its Orono Bog counterpart forms a loop across a spectacular peat bog.

Considered a rare geological feature because it “sits” atop a headland rather than at its lowest point, West Quoddy Head Bog actually represents a patch of Arctic tundra deposited on the Maine coast. Formed by glacial melt more than 10 millennia ago, the bog supports many plant species found at nearby Carrying Place Cove Bog and some 120 miles west at Orono Bog.

Interpretive signs identify different micro-environments within the bog, as well as some plants, and visitors often photograph the laurels and carnivorous pitcher plants — especially when the latter contain hapless insects.

Other plants include Labrador tea, rhodora, and the carnivorous sundew.

Stay on the boardwalk and do not step onto the bog. Take lots of photos, not only in the bog, but along the shore. West Quoddy Head’s black cliffs rise dramatically from the restless ocean, and overlooks provide thrilling views into the jagged clefts.

BDN Photos by Brian Swartz

Grass pinks grow near the Orono Bog Walk in Bangor.

A white-throated sparrow peers from the stunted evergreens growing alongside the Orono Bog Walk.

The boardwalk accessing the peat bog at Quoddy Head State Park in Lubec forms a loop across this rare example of Arctic tundra.

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