Orono Bog Boardwalk Nearing Completion

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) Seven years of fundraising and construction brings volunteers at the Orono Bog Boardwalk near completion on their renovation campaign.

With nearly 80 percent set to be finished by the end of the year -- they still need a bit of a push to reach their goal.

Jim Bird, Director of the boardwalk says, "This is our 15th year. We've had over 330,000 visitors since we started ."

The Orono Bog Boardwalk is a popular place for people of all ages to enjoy nature right in Bangor.

Bird says, "A number of wheelchair users come out here. Senior groups, exercise groups, boy/girls scouts, I mean everyone really likes it. We also give free tours so people are really very appreciative of that."

But the boardwalk is quickly falling into disrepair.

Bird says, "We're replacing it because it's starting to deteriorate because of wood decaying fungi and carpenter ants."

Back in 2010 a group of volunteers decided they had to do something about it.

They are replacing each section of the boardwalk with composite material that should last for over 30 years.

Bird says, "So far we've put in 299 of the 509 sections and in October we're going to put in another 97.

That leaves 114 sections to replace -- but they are still working to raise the funds.

Bird says, "It seems like we've been raising money since 2010. Seems like we're raising about $100,000 a year. Now we have to pick it up to $200,000 in the next year and a half."

The money goes to buy materials -- the labor is free from a group of dedicated volunteers.

Dave Easler, a two-year volunteer says, "Since I've been working with the maintenance team and tearing up the old and putting down the new, I have a whole different respect now for the boardwalk and seeing how this whole thing is put together and doing behind the scenes work."

Volunteers meet at least once a week to repair the old sections of the boardwalk to keep it safe for visitors which requires a lot of hard labor.

They say it's worth it but are excited for the new boardwalk so they can get back to what they say is most important.

Bird says, "That's our big purpose is education and that's what we want to get back to once all this is done. We don't want to spend time having to maintain it. We want to sort of be out promoting it."

For more information on how to donate or volunteer you can visit their website.