A view from the new Viles Arboretum wetland boardwalk in Augusta. Submitted photo

AUGUSTA — Viles Arboretum’s Wetland Boardwalk Project is completed.

Located on the Outer Loop trail, the boardwalk takes visitors on an immersive journey through a wetland area that is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. It also provides opportunities to observe a diverse variety of wildlife, including mink, herons, frogs, and turtles, according to a news release from the arboretum.

“Our Land Management Committee made the decision to replace the boardwalk structure earlier this year due to its deteriorating condition,” said Ryan Martin, the arboretum’s executive. “The new structure is made of synthetic materials and stainless steel, which will improve the longevity of the structure and lessen the impact on the surrounding environment.”

The previous structure had been made of untreated wood materials, and while it was a cost-effective option that was aesthetically-pleasing, the resulting structure was not able to withstand the high-moisture conditions of the wetland environment.

The synthetic decking of the new structure is porous and will allow water and debris to pass through. It was professionally installed by Dock Guys, LLC.

An official ribbon cutting for the new wetland boardwalk is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23 following the arboretum’s annual meeting and pancake breakfast. All are welcome to attend the free event.


The ribbon cutting will be the start of a staff-led tour, which will provide insights into the organization’s various projects and accomplishments from the past year. The tour will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the lawn outside of the education center.

The boardwalk project was made possible through grant funding and the support of arboretum members and the community. In 2022, the arboretum was selected by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands to receive a $134,800 grant to improve signage and bridging on their trails through its Recreational Trail Program. A significant portion of this funding went to enable the boardwalk project, with additional support from the Elsie and William Viles Foundation, The Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust, and Kennebec Savings Bank. Individual donors also played a role in funding the project.

Viles Arboretum is located at 153 Hospital St. The grounds and trails are open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset, and the organization does not charge a fee to tour the facility.

For more information, call the arboretum at 207-626-7989.


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