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The 'History of Maple Sugaring' comes alive at the Cleveland Metroparks event

Sap collecting
Sap collecting
courtesy Cleveland Metroparks

The Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks in North Olmsted is offering a free, family-friendly and educational event over two weekends in March (2-3 and 8-9) where visitors can learn all about the maple sugaring process from collecting the sap to enjoying a taste of the fresh maple syrup.

"History of Maple Sugaring" Located at the Maple Grove Picnic Area (1/3 mile south of the Rocky River Nature Center), this event allows visitors a chance to take a hike along the Sugarbush Trail and view sap collecting methods over the years used by pioneers and Native Americans (who first taught Western Reserve settlers how to make syrup). They will also learn about present-day sugar farming collecting methods.

Collection methods have included reeds and bark progressing to wooden buckets and metal containers to the plastic tubing used today.

Along the way, there will be discussions with a park ranger guide about the area's natural history, pioneer technology, cultural history, Native American lore and even science and technology.

The "History of Maple Sugaring" hikes conclude at the Sugarhouse where visitors can watch as the sap is boiled into pure maple syrup. They will get to sample some of the syrup that was collected and made in the park.

Special Note: This event will have a special opening ceremony at 11 a.m. featuring ice carver Dave Zajac who will creating a maple leaf and a tree out of blocks of ice.

Some Interesting Facts About Maple Sugaring The maple sugaring season typically lasts from 4-6 weeks (early February through mid-March). The fourth largest of 12 states that produce maple sugar, Ohio produces nearly 100,000 gallons of syrup each year.

It takes 35-40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup and the maple sap contains 2-3% sugar. Three to four taps are required to produce each gallon of syrup. And I bet you didn't know that maple syrup contains as much calcium as milk.

Ideal weather for the running of the sap is when days start to warm and the nights are cold (below freezing).

Hours for the "History off Maple Sugaring" event both weekends are 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Guided tours are available every 20 minutes with the last tour departing at 3:40 p.m. Admission is free.

For more information about 'The History of Maple Sugaring" event call 440-734-6660 or get online at www.clemetparks.com.

The Maple Grove Picnic Area is located off Valley Parkway in the Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks between Cedar Point Rd. and Spafford Rd. in North Olmsted.