It is a pristine, remote wilderness few people have ever seen or
experienced. Here, 100-year-old dwarfed spruce trees on the
shrub-covered heath grow no taller than a person. Bog rosemary,
insect-eating pitcher plants and 20 species of orchids are among the
diverse, acid-tolerant plants able to eke out an existence in the
infertile peatland, situated, in part, on university-owned land. The
616-acre Orono Bog is a bird-watcher's paradise.
This summer, the mile-long, wheelchair-accessible Orono Bog Boardwalk
opened to the public. It culminated seven months of work by teams of
volunteers, the Maine Conservation Corps and a host of contributors
interested in providing access to an area formerly reached only by the
Most recently, the Orono Bog Endowment Fund was established with the
University of Maine Foundation to ensure the future of the boardwalk in
the nature reserve.
The effort to build the boardwalk winding from the Bangor City Forest
into the bog was led by University of Maine biologist Ronald Davis, who
has spent the last 15 years doing research to unlock the secrets of such
wetlands around the world.
In 1974, the National Park Service designated the Orono Bog as a
National Natural Landmark, confirming what Davis already knew: bogs have
regional significance and have much to teach. The first lesson, says
Davis, is simply one of beauty. Seeing a bog up close can be a thrilling
journey into another world.
Just as important is the quiet unfolding of nature — the interplay of
light, water and land that gives rise to specialized life-forms growing
on top of peat that is 25 feet deep in some places. Interpretive
stations along the boardwalk and guided tours help visitors learn about
and appreciate the different peatland environments and types of
vegetation that the trail traverses.
UMaine Today Magazine
Department of University Relations
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Phone: (207) 581-3744 | Fax: (207) 581-3776