Orono Bog Boardwalk to close early for renovations

The Orono Bog Boardwalk will close for the winter on Oct. 30, one month earlier than usual, so that a crew can begin Phase One of the boardwalk’s reconstruction.

Since opening in June 2003, the boardwalk has been a popular destination for thousands of people. Almost 300,000 visits have been recorded at the boardwalk over the past eleven years, and the visitors have come from all 50 states and several countries. Over the past several years, the boardwalk has been deteriorating from wood decaying fungi, carpenter ants and heavy use.

The Boardwalk Campaign, a fundraising effort to replace the existing wood boardwalk with longer-lasting composite material, began early 2012. Since then, the volunteer organization that maintains the boardwalk has raised

$225,000, the funds necessary to start Phase One of the reconstruction.

For Phase One, a Maine Conservation Corps crew of seven workers, along with volunteers, will replace nearly 100 deck boards on sections 106 to 509 of the boardwalk. They will then remove the first 105 sections and start replacing them with composite decking on aluminum framing and stainless steel legs.

Phase Two of the Capital Campaign is now starting — to raise about $225,000 to replace sections 106-250 in 2014. Phase Three, to raise sufficient funds to reconstruct the remaining 259 sections during 2015-16.

The boardwalk is jointly managed by the University of Maine, the Orono Land Trust and the City of Bangor.

An information kiosk at the start of the boardwalk and seven Interpretive displays along the walkway educates visitors on the ecology and importance of peat bogs. And boardwalk volunteers have offered many free natural history programs to attract visitors over the years.

Currently much of the volunteers’ time is spent repairing the decaying boardwalk. It is expected that after the newly reconstructed boardwalk is in place, volunteers will have more time to expand educational programs.

If interested in donating to the Orono Bog Boardwalk or volunteering, call Orono Bog Boardwalk Director Jim Bird at 581-1697 or email him at Jim.Bird@umit.maine.edu. Direct donations can also be made at the University of Maine Foundation website; Direct your donation to the Orono Bog Boardwalk Capital Campaign.

To learn more about the boardwalk and watch a video of a tour of the boardwalk with Orono Bog Boardwalk founder Ron Davis, visit bangordailynews.com/slideshow/volunteers-race-to-replace-decaying-orono-bog-boardwalk/, a BDN story from May 15, 2013.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Professionally, Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the "Outdoor" and "Living" pages. She's a wilderness romper and fashion-forward bookworm.