New sections of the boardwalk.

The Orono Bog Boardwalk officially opened for its 15th season at 7 a.m. today, May 1, with a small celebration that included speeches by honorary opener Paul Mayewski, Director of the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, as well as Megan Stewart, representative for Senator Angus King, reading a letter from the senator.

New sections of the boardwalk in 2015.
How to get to the boardwalk: From Bangor, drive toward Orono on Stillwater Avenue (by the Bangor Mall) 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 parking lots for the Rolland F. Perry City Forest, also known as the Bangor City Forest. When you drive into the parking lot, the trail you want to take is on your righthand side. You can use trail maps posted at the parking area to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. Leaving from the right side of the parking lot, a 0.25-mile, wide forested trail leads to a small building, picnic tables and kiosk for the boardwalk. The boardwalk starts from there and is about 1 mile long, out and back. It starts as one path, then splits into a loop.

Darling’s Ice Cream for a Cause Truck is scheduled to be at the boardwalk from 5 to 7 p.m. today; however, the event may be canceled due to rain. Currently, organizers are playing it by ear. If the event is canceled, it will be announced on the Orono Bog Boardwalk Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OronoBogBoardwalk/.

Also on the Facebook page are live videos from this morning’s opening celebration:

Boardwalk volunteers have been busy getting ready for the 2017 season, according to a recent press release. Before winter set in, a team of 18 volunteers installed 48 new boardwalk sections, a wheelchair turnout and an interpretive station. This work is a part of a larger project to replace the entire 1-mile-long wooden boardwalk with more durable, composite decking with cladded aluminum siding and stainless steel footings. In the past 4 years, boardwalk volunteers have installed 300 new sections, and there are 209 more sections to be purchased and installed. Fundraising is in progress with a goal of completing all phases of reconstruction by the end of 2018.

The Orono Bog Boardwalk is located in the Rolland F. Perry City Forest, also known as the Bangor City Forest, where it travels from forested wetland into a large, open peat bog. Constructed to be wheelchair-accessible, the boardwalk is a place for exercise and learning, with seven interpretive stations scattered along the route where visitors can rest on benches and learn about their surroundings by reading illustrated panels about flora and fauna. The boardwalk is also a popular place for artists to be inspired by the natural beauty of the landscape.

With free admission, the boardwalk is open 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily during the summer, with hours adjusting for day-length changes in autumn. Since it opened in June 2003, the boardwalk has seen more than 320,000 visits.

The new Bangor City Forest trail map displays! So nice… the boardwalk is the blue loop shown to the far right.

A volunteer staff maintains the boardwalk and provides information and education for visitors, including school and community groups. The facility is jointly managed by the Orono Land Trust, the City of Bangor and the University of Maine. Its operation and maintenance are funded entirely through donations, sales of boardwalk merchandise and grants.

For information about the boardwalk, visit umaine.edu/oronobogwalk/, e-mail jim.bird@umit.maine.edu or call 207-866-2578.

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...