When the kids get restless at the Bangor Mall and you’re ready to escape the hustle and bustle, take time out in the nearby Rolland F. Perry City Forest, where the air is fresh and shade and natural beauty abound.
“I want to climb on big rocks!” Arman Shah from Allentown, Pa., told his dad, Ravi, upon entering the 680-acre forest, which features diverse wildlife.
“OK, but it’s going to be hot,” Ravi told his 5-year-old son. But, Arman didn’t seem to mind the 90-degree heat as he strolled beneath the forest canopy.
The Shahs hiked through the rich environment of woodlands, wetlands and open expanses accessed from Kittredge Road or Tripp Drive off Stillwater Avenue and less than two miles from the shopping mall. The forest boasts more than nine miles of hiking, mountain biking and cross-country ski trails, with more than five miles of gravel roads.
“I think it’s a great resource for Bangor. We are so lucky to have it,” resident Jen Larlee said while walking with her 6-month-old boxer mix, Chopper.
Jen regularly walks with her father on the East-West Loop Trail encircling the property.
“I like that every day I see something cool and different, whether it’s a flower or lichen or seeing different people. It’s always something nice,” Jen said.
Some of the most unique scenery is found on the easy-going Orono Bog Boardwalk, where the forest breaks into a vast sky over the reds and greens of hummock peat moss, bog laurel and black spruce trees. This nearly one-mile raised path weds awesome sights with the science and preservation behind it on informational displays along the way.
“It’s one of my most special places,” said Jesse Kaye-Schiess, who works for the physical education department at the University of Maine. He is the summer camp director for the Maine Youth Fish and Game Association and was taking a camper out on the bog. “It’s not too long and doable for everybody. A huge part is how well it’s maintained [so] it’s safe for everybody.”
UMaine biologist Ronald Davis conceived of the boardwalk in 2000 so the bog wouldn’t be damaged by visitors. Donations are accepted by the Boardwalk Endowment Fund to complete replacement of the original hemlock walkway.