Maple syrup day at Hartwick Pines State Park: MI

Article Posted: March 14, 2003

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Maple syrup day at Hartwick Pines State Park

The Michigan Forest Visitor Center and Logging Museum at Hartwick Pines State Park will celebrate its annual Maple Syrup Day, March 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public is invited to come and enjoy learning all about maple sugar, North America's oldest agricultural product. There is no fee for this event, but a state park motor vehicle permit is required for entry into the park.

Visitors can walk into the sugarbush to tap a maple tree, observe the boil-down process which converts the sap to maple syrup, and ask questions about backyard and commercial sugaring of Russell Kidd, MSU District Extension Forestry Agent. Three videos on maple sugaring will be shown in the visitor center auditorium throughout the day, and maple sugar candy and syrup will be on sale.

Special activities for children include helping to "build-a-tree," making their own paper mokuk and playing a photosynthesis game. A mokuk was a birch bark container used by Native Americans to transport maple sugar. The activities are designed to instruct kids of all ages about how trees make their own food, what sap is and how trees actually are made up of many layers beneath the protective outer bark. The history lesson also includes a discussion of how European settlers learned the sugaring culture of the Native Americans.

Visitors will be able to taste maple syrup and sap, smell the aroma around an outside evaporator pan and welcome spring at this educational and fun event. Maple sugar recipes also will be available for those wishing to savor the sweetness of the day long after they return home.

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