From sap to syrup

Annual Hartwick Pines State Park event offers a look at the process of tapping maple trees and making syrup
An annual event held at a local state park on Saturday, April 8, offered visitors an opportunity to learn about the process of making maple syrup.
Saturday’s Maple Syrup Day at Hartwick Pines State Park featured tree tapping demonstrations, boiling of the maple sap, information for people looking to make their own maple syrup, and a classroom with crafts for kids, event organizers said.
Hillary Pine, Hartwick Pines State Park Historian, conducted the tree tapping demonstrations, showing visitors the process of creating a hole in a maple tree with a small hand-powered drill and then installing a spile and a bucket to collect the sap. (Sap was not running well on Saturday due to the cold temperatures.)
“The weather really kind of makes or breaks it,” Pine said.
During one of the demonstrations, Pine said maples are higher in sugar content than other trees, and typically it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
Pine said Hartwick Pines State Park workers started tapping trees about six weeks prior to Maple Syrup Day and gathered about 30 gallons for the event in order to demonstrate the boil-down process with their outdoor wood-fired cooking set-up.
The weather for Saturday’s event featured steady snow flurries in the morning, but Craig Kasmer, Park Interpreter, said attendance was “better than expected.”
Kasmer said he was hopeful for good weather this year for Maple Syrup Day because the forecast early in the week showed 50-plus degree temperatures and sunny conditions. The forecast was not correct. Kasmer said he’s been involved with Maple Syrup Day for more than 20 years and “it seems like it’s always snowy” for the event.
“It’s just the way it is,” Kasmer said.
Kasmer said with the recent warm weather people were probably ready to be outdoors, they planned to come to the event, and they didn’t let snow flurries interfere.
Pine said it was nice to get outside, to get out of the office, to get away from the computer screen.
“It’s nice to see people and talk to people in person,” Pine said. “(Maple Syrup Day is) kind of the kickoff to the summer season.”
“It’s a fun event,” Pine said. “This is a good event to come to and learn how easy it is to tap a tree and make syrup. It’s totally possible to do.”
Pine said the Visitor Center at Hartwick Pines is currently open on weekends only but the park will be open seven days a week starting on April 17.
The Hartwick Pines State Park Logging Museum will open on April 29 and the campground will open on May 1, Pine said. Hartwick Pines has an Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration slated for May 13.

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
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Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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