Maple syrup making: Tapping into a sweet tradition

Ever wonder how to tap your own maple trees and make delicious syrup? State parks are a great place to learn in the month of March. 

State parks are home to thousands of maple trees from which pure maple syrup is made. The Department of Natural Resources offers free programs at state parks where visitors learn all about tapping maple trees while using common kitchen tools.

  • Programs start on March 9 at Whitewater State Park (near Winona). Attend the 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. program or the 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. program. Registration is required. Sign up by calling 507-312-2308, or by emailing holger@state.mn.us.
  • Fort Snelling State Park also offers a syrup making demonstration from 1-3 p.m. on March 9. Registration is not required. The workshop starts in the Thomas Savage Visitor Center.

More maple syrup programs take place at several Minnesota state parks throughout March and early April. For the complete schedule, and more information about how to tap trees and make maple syrup, visit mndnr.gov/maplesyrup.

The programs offer hands-on instruction with a taste of the finished product. Learn how to identify and tap the right kind of tree as well as how to boil the sap until it is ready to serve. Usually, the best time to collect sap has been between mid-March and mid-April, when temperatures are in the high 30s to mid-40s during the day and below freezing at night.

The maple syrup programs are free, but vehicle permits are required to enter the parks ($7 for a one-day permit or $35 for a year-round permit). Due to space limitations, some programs also require advance registration. Occasionally, due to extreme weather or other conditions, an event may need to be canceled or changed. When in doubt, call the park.

For more information, contact the DNR Information Center by emailing info.dnr@state.mn.us or by calling 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).