AUGUSTA — The Viles Arboretum will once again be home to one of the longest boardwalks in Maine after months of hard work. Closed due to safety concerns, the old structure was dismantled during the heat of the summer by Arboretum staff and volunteers from the Augusta Birding Club and Airforce. With grants from the Recreational Trails Program, the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and the Augusta Bird Club plus a discount from Hammond Lumber, the improved design is now under construction by a Maine Conservation Corps crew.

A major draw to first-time guests and regular visitors alike, the boardwalk travels through a wetland area and over a pond giving the chance for up-close wildlife encounters. “While working on this project I have seen many different birds, over a dozen painted turtles, a large snapping turtle swimming just under the surface, and one morning I had a doe and fawn walk within ten yards of me,” the Botanical Collections Manager — Outreach Specialist Sven Pulsifer said in a news release from the arboretum.

With a few more weeks of construction and layout of the bridge, visitors will once more be able to walk over the water and view the diverse wetland habitat. The arboretum hopes a ribbon cutting can take place soon after the last deck is installed.

The arboretum, centrally located on 224 acres of fields, forests, wetlands and botanical collections offers an ever-changing selection of programs for the general public and for schools.

For more information, visit www.vilesarboretum.org, or call 626-7989.


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