Maple syrup on tap, courtesy of the DNR

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Minnesota’s natural bounty offers dozens of ways to get food “the old fashioned way” – From hunting and fishing and foraging throughout the appropriate seasons, to backyard and community gardens, to larger family farm operations.

One source that often gets overlooked, however, is the bold and beautiful maple tree.

Minnesota state parks are home to maple trees by the thousands from which sweet, rich, delicious Maple Syrup pours forth. How do you get your hands (and pancakes) on this natural treat? A good place to start: The DNR offers a free program that teaches participants how to tap maple trees, with the common tools already found in most household kitchens.

Maple syrup program – Dave Palmquist, retired DNR Naturalist

The program kicked off March 3rd at Whitewater State Park, but not to worry: There are plenty of other opportunities to participate. Throughout the event, you’ll learn how to identify a maple tree and tap into it the source, and you’ll also learn how to boil the sap collected until it turns into the sweet goodness we know from our bottles of Aunt Jemima. It is hard work, though – it typically takes 30 or 40 gallons of sap to net a gallon of pure maple syrup.

We are currently in the prime season for collecting sap: Typically, mid-March to mid-April is peak maple syrup season, as temperatures begin to rise to highs in the 30’s and 40’s during the day, while dropping below freezing again at night.

Courtesy of MN DNR

Keep in mind that, though the program is free to the public, it is necessary to pay for a parking permit at our state parks. Your choice is to pay $7 for the day, or pick up an annual permit for $35. For more information, contact the DNR Information Center by emailing info.dnr@state.mn.us, or by calling (888) 646-6367 (8am – 8pm, Monday through Friday, 9am – 1pm, Saturday).

A complete schedule is listed below but can also be found at www.mndnr.gov/maplesyrup. Along with the schedule, you’ll find more information about how to tap trees and make maple syrup on your own.


Events Calendar

03/10/18

Whitewater State Park

Maple Syrup Making for the Whole Family

03/10/18

Whitewater State Park

Maple Syrup Making for the Whole Family

03/10/18

Fort Snelling State Park

Maple Syruping in Your Backyard

03/11/18

Wild River State Park

Tapping the Magnificent Maple

03/11/18

Fort Snelling State Park

Maple Syruping in Your Backyard

03/17/18

Whitewater State Park

Maple Syrup Making for the Whole Family

03/17/18

Whitewater State Park

Maple Syrup Making for the Whole Family

03/17/18

Whitewater State Park

Maple Syrup Making for the Whole Family

03/17/18

Wild River State Park

Maple Syrup Workshop

03/17/18

Fort Snelling State Park

Maple Syruping in Your Backyard

03/18/18

Wild River State Park

Maple Syrup Workshop

03/18/18

Fort Snelling State Park

Maple Syruping in Your Backyard

03/24/18

Whitewater State Park

Maple Syrup Making for the Whole Family

03/24/18

Whitewater State Park

Maple Syrup Making for the Whole Family

03/24/18

Wild River State Park

Maple Syrup Workshop

03/24/18

Fort Snelling State Park

Maple Syruping in Your Backyard

03/24/18

Fort Ridgely State Park

Maple Syrup Demonstration

03/25/18

Wild River State Park

Maple Syrup Workshop

03/25/18

Fort Snelling State Park

Maple Syruping in Your Backyard

03/31/18

Fort Snelling State Park

Maple Syruping in Your Backyard

04/07/18

Maplewood State Park

Maple Syrup Demonstration

Please note: Occasionally, due to extreme weather or other conditions, an event may need to be canceled or changed. When in doubt, call the park.