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Forum News Service, Published February 24 2014

Minnesota parks agency makes sweet offer

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state parks plan to teach people how to make maple syrup this spring.

Naturalists will demonstrate the process at free programs in March and early April, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“We’ll teach you how to identify the right kind of tree, drill a hole for a spile, collect sap in a bucket and then boil it until it’s tasty enough to pour on your pancakes,” said Kao Thao, naturalist at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul. “Once you see how it’s done, it’s easy to do it yourself in your own backyard.”

Generally, sap runs best from about March 15 to April 20, when temperatures are in the high 30s to mid-40s during the day and below freezing at night. It usually takes 30 to 40 gallons of sap from a sugar maple tree to get a gallon of pure maple syrup.

The maple syrup programs at Minnesota state parks are free, but vehicle permits are required to enter the parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit).

The full maple syrup parks schedule is available at www.mndnr.gov; search for "maple syrup."