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Orono Bog Boardwalk’s First Year Far Exceeds Expectations

Contact: Nick Houtman, Dept. of Public Affairs, 207-581-3777

ORONO, Maine — A total of 15,560 visitors registered at the Orono Bog Boardwalk in 2003, according to Director Ronald Davis, more than double the expectations of the facility’s management committee. The board closed for the season on December 1 and will reopen in May.

“The boardwalk has become a major outdoor recreation destination in the Bangor area. It has attracted people from more than 15 other states and 15 foreign countries,” says Davis.

Boardwalk success, he adds, is due to the work of many volunteers and the Maine Conservation Corps as well as the diversity of plant life and different environments in the bog. “It is a quiet and beautiful place, and it can be a great learning experience,” says Davis who is also a University of Maine biologist.

The mile-long boardwalk starts off the East Trail in the Bangor City Forest and continues on University of Maine land in Orono. To guide visitors through the bog, signs have been placed along the boardwalk, and a 16-page guidebook is available. It features facts about the boardwalk and the bog, as well as colored photographs of plants and flowers.

This past year, many Bangor area organizations arranged for free, expert guided walks at the boardwalk. They included senior citizen clubs, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, garden clubs and students. This program will be continued in 2004, and guided walks can be scheduled by contacting Davis (866-4786 before 8:30 p.m.) at least a month in advance. The boardwalk is wheelchair accessible.

In addition, an expanded series of guided Saturday morning nature walks will be planned. In 2003, they focused on bog ecology, birds and their habitats, wetland destruction and conservation, bog plant life, peat bogs for kids and water flows in the bog and its environmental implications.

The boardwalk is a public service of its sponsors: the University of Maine, Orono Land Trust, and City of Bangor. A fund raising campaign is currently underway to establish an endowment for boardwalk maintenance.

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