The Viles Arboretum
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.