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Orono Bog Walk receives grant for renovations

The renovation of the Orono Bog Walk is entering the third phase, and will be completed in 2017.

On Nov. 24, the Orono Bog Boardwalk received a $30,000 grant from the Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust to use for renovations. According to the director of the Orono Bog Walk, Jim Bird, the grant will be used to help with the next phase of the renovating process.

“We’ve divided up the renovations in phases so we are working on phase 3A, which is basically 48 sections between sections 461 and 509; some of the worst sections of the boardwalk,” Bird said.

The total cost of the renovation project is approximately $90,000 and the Orono Bog Walk has received grants in the past to help with the projects. Boardwalk volunteers have raised money to renovate the first 252 sections as well.

The renovation project is set to be completed by 2017 and will include interactive sites with sponsorship from people who donated. All renovations are completed by volunteers and committee members.

“It is $1,000 per section sponsorship and so $30,000 will sponsor the interpretive station for $25,000 and 5 sections right around it. We have various naming opportunities and the grant will be named on our campaign kiosk,” Bird said.

The Orono Bog Walk brings in many students from the University of Maine area as a popular summer, fall and spring attraction and as an educational tool for professors at the university. Free guided tours are available to groups who want to learn more about the Bog Walk.

“I like that you can have an immerse experience in nature and it is not too far away from where we are on campus,” Abby Bellefleur, a third-year student, said.

“It is a fun way to get exercise without going to the gym and it is a good place to go in the summertime,” Elsa Thibodeau, a fourth-year student, said.

The interpretive stations talk about the peat, the birds and other natural history about the specific sections. The seven stations are placed at various bog ecosystems. The Orono Bog Walk is trying to raise $60,000 to work on the seventh station which is part of their Phase 3A renovations.

On Dec. 2, Orono Brewing Company hosted a release party for their beer benefiting the Orono Bog Walk: Orono Bog Boardwalk Benefit Maple Ale. For every pint of beer sold, brewery owners Abe and Heather Firth donated 50 cents to the Orono Bog Walk Restoration Campaign.

On Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. the Orono Bog Walk had a table at the Page Farm and Home Museum’s Ye Olde Holiday Shoppe where they sold t-shirts, jewelry and hats.

The Orono Bog Walk was founded by Doctor Ronald Davis who decided to build something to save the peat and provide educational sites for people walking on the bog. The Orono Bog Walk is approximately a mile and begins in the Bangor City Forest, crossing into Orono and UMaine.

Donations for the Orono Bog Walk can be sent to the UMaine Foundation or by contacting the Orono Bog Boardwalk Campaign Committee.

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