April 26, 2018
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Fundraiser to benefit Orono Bog Boardwalk

Brian Swartz | BDN
Brian Swartz | BDN
This sparrow is among the wildlife that can be found along the Orono Bog Boardwalk.
By Dale McGarrigle, Of The Weekly Staff

BANGOR — For the past decade, the Orono Bog Boardwalk has taken visitors to a quieter time and place.

Now it’s time for those visitors to step up and help revitalize the 4,200-foot boardwalk.

Wood-decaying fungi, carpenter ants and heavy usage have all left their marks on the wooden boardwalk. For a visitor walking through the bog, new wood among the many weathered planks is evident throughout the boardwalk.

“The situation is getting pretty urgent,” said Jim Bird, spokesman for the volunteer friends’ organization that maintains the walk. “We’re checking and doing things for the boardwalk so it’s OK for people to travel on. We have maintenance crews replacing 10 to 30 boards a week.”

The next fundraising event for the boardwalk will be the Orono Bog Boardwalk Silent Auction and Potluck Supper, to be held 6-10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, at Keith Anderson Community Center, 19 Bennoch Road, in Orono. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

It’s the friends organization’s second biggest fundraiser, behind its annual yard sale in June. It’s been held five of the boardwalk’s 10 years, and Bird hopes that it will be an annual event in future years.

Since Bird is still soliciting items for the silent auction, it’s premature to list what will be up for bid. But he does expect local history books, framed photos, tours, gift certificates and antiques. Fans of the boardwalk have been creating 6-by-6-inch squares which show their feelings about the bog. These more than 40 squares will be united into an afghan, for which the friends will sell 100 raffle tickets at $5 each.

Fundraising for a new boardwalk made out of a composite wood began earlier this year, when an anonymous donor offered a contribution of $25,000 if supporters could raise a matching amount within six months, which they did.

Bird estimated that around $100,000 has been raised already, and added that his organization hopes to announce a formal capital campaign by year’s end.

How much will a new boardwalk cost? Bird hopes to gauge the answer to that question by putting the project out to bid, also by year’s end.

“We hope to do a phased replacement over a short number of years,” he said. “It depends on money, the results of our campaign.”

To check out the boardwalk, drive out Stillwater Avenue toward Orono and turn left onto Tripp Drive. Continue to the end of Tripp Drive. At the cul-de-sac, drive straight onto a dirt road, which will lead you to one of the Bangor City Forest parking lots. At the right end of the parking lot, a quarter-mile-wide forest trail leads to a small building, picnic tables and kiosk. The boardwalk starts from there.

The boardwalk remains open through the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., through Nov. 6; and 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Nov. 6-29. Local naturalists led free nature walks on the boardwalk; check www.oronobogwalk.org for schedules.

For more information, email jim.bird@umit.maine.edu.

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