The Mission of the Viles Arboretum is "to promote the knowledge and appreciation of Maine's trees and other flora for people of all ages by offering opportunities for education, recreation, and inspiration."
The Viles Arboretum
- Last Updated on Friday, 26 August 2016 13:09
- Written by Administrator
The grounds of the Viles Arboretum are open dawn to dusk, seven days a week. These include six miles of trails, all marked and signed, on 224 acres. Trail maps are available at the trailhead kiosk. Dogs are allowed on the trails, on a leash at all times. Pet owners must pick up after their dogs.
A good introductory trail is the one to Viles Pond, which takes one through the hosta garden, past the rock garden, and to Viles Pond, often alive with birds, dragonflies, and frogs croaking. Depending on how long one lingers to enjoy the sights, this one mile trail takes about 45 minutes.
The Visitor Center is open 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The Gift Shop offers books, posters, bird feeders, and other items. Members receive a 10% discount on all purchases.
In 1981 the Maine Forest Service began development of the Arboretum. During that year, 120 trees were planted and construction of fences, bridges, trails, and a boardwalk began. In 1982, a private non-profit corporation was formed with a board of directors to manage the 224-acre preserve, called the Pine Tree State Arboretum, and in 1990, the Visitors Center was built, and an executive director was hired. In 1992, a 99- year lease was signed with the Department of Conservation, administered by the Bureau of Parks and Lands, and in 2010, the Arboretum was renamed the Viles Arboretum to honor William Payson Viles (d.1986) and Elsie Pike Viles (d.2013), who were instrumental in establishing the Arboretum and in providing guidance and financial support.
In June of 1991, the Arboretum was certified as a Demonstration Tree Farm, and in 1992 The Hosta Collection was brought to Maine from Massachusetts when the Arnold Arboretum sold the Case Estates in 1992. An education wing was built in 2003. The Arboretum is continuously adding to its collection of trees and plants, its educational activities, programs, events and its trail system.
Current activities of special note include: the "Shifting Gears Initiative", bringing art to the Arboretum as a way of introducing visitors to art through nature and nature through art; installation of interpretive panels for twenty of our botanical collections; and a whole new botanical labelling effort using the same protocol and labels as the Arnold Arboretum.