Learn how to make maple syrup at Minnesota state parks

Fort Snelling State Park Naturalist Kao Thao demonstrates how to tap a tree for syrup.

Fort Snelling State Park Naturalist Kao Thao demonstrates how to tap a tree for syrup.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Tap into the fun of making maple syrup at Minnesota state parks in March and early April. Naturalists will demonstrate how to tap trees and turn sap into syrup at several programs throughout the state.

“Attending one of the many programs taking place at Minnesota state parks is a great way to introduce kids to one of nature’s sweetest secrets,” said Kao Thao, naturalist at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul, where maple-syrup-making demonstrations will take place every weekend in March. “We’ll teach you everything you need to know to make this a springtime family tradition.”

Generally, sap runs best from about March 15 to April 20, and it usually takes 30 to 40 gallons of sap from a sugar maple tree to get a gallon of pure maple syrup.

“Maple sap runs best when temperatures are in the high 30s to mid-40s during the day and below freezing at night,” Thao said. “This cycle of above-freezing days and below-freezing nights has to continue for several days for a ‘good’ sap run in Minnesota.”

The programs are free, but vehicle permits are required to enter state parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit). Some parks encourage dropping by any time to watch ongoing demonstrations. Other parks offer more structured, step-by-step instruction. Some programs also require advance registration.

For details, including the complete 2013 maple syrup program schedule, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/maple_syruping.html or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free at 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

2013 Maple Syrup Programs

Saturday, March 2: Fort Snelling State Park, 1-2:30 p.m., 612-725-2389.
Sunday, March 3: Fort Snelling State Park, 1-2:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 9: Fort Snelling State Park, 1-2:30 p.m..
Whitewater State Park,* 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. 507-932-3007, ext. 226.
Wild River State Park,* 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 651-583-2125, ext. 227.
Sunday, March 10: Fort Snelling State Park, 1-2:30 p.m.,
Whitewater State Park,* 1-3 p.m.
Wild River State Park,* 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Saturday, March 16: Fort Snelling State Park, 1-2:30 p.m.
Whitewater State Park,* 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
Sunday, March 17: Fort Snelling State Park, 1-2:30 p.m.
Whitewater State Park,* 1-3 p.m.
Wild River State Park,* 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Saturday, March 23: Fort Snelling State Park, 1-2:30 p.m.
Lake Bemidji State Park, 12:30-3:30 p.m., 218-308-2328.
Lake Maria State Park, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., 763-878-2325.
Sibley State Park,* 2-3 p.m., 320-354-2055.
Whitewater State Park,* 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
Wild River State Park,* 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Sunday, March 24: Fort Snelling State Park, 1-2:30 p.m.
Lake Bemidji State Park, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Lake Maria State Park, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Whitewater State Park,* 1-3 p.m.
Wild River State Park,* 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Saturday, March 30: Sibley State Park,* 2-3 p.m.
Saturday, April 6: Lake Bemidji State Park, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Maplewood State Park, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 218-863-8383.
Sunday, April 7: Lake Bemidji State Park, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
    *Registration required. Call park to register.

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