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Weekend Fun: Maple Sugaring At Your Local Metroparks

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Maple trees have been tapped in the "traditional" way to harvest maple syrup. (Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Maple trees have been tapped in the “traditional” way to harvest maple syrup. (Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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DEXTER (WWJ) - Are you one of those people who just can’t say no to syrup’s natural sweetness? If so, the Metroparks have you covered! Check out one of the maple sugaring programs offered at five Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

The seventh largest producer of maple syrup in the United States, Michigan’s maple sugaring history dates back to American Indian times.

Discover the maple sugaring process, including how trees are tapped and sap is collected, along with a history of maple sugaring, during one of the Metroparks’ special programs. The process of boiling sap to maple syrup is demonstrated during most programs.

  • Maple Sugaring: Journey to the Sugar Bush
    Hudson Mills Metropark near Dexter
    Saturdays & Sundays, Feb. 25 and 26, and every weekend in March
    10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon

See how to tap trees, collect sap and boil it into maple syrup. Reservations are required for the guided tour which is $3 per person. An all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast, with real maple syrup, will be served at the Activity Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the days the tours are offered. Pancake breakfast is $3.50 per child and $5.50 per adult.

You can also tap your own tree at the park and collect your own sap with the purchase of a maple syrup starter kit for $25. For more information or to register, call Hudson Mills Metropark at 734-426-8211 or 800-477-3191.

  • Maple Sweetness
    Historic Center of Wolcott Mill Metropark in Ray Township
    Saturdays & Sundays, Feb. 25 and 26, and every weekend in March
    12:30 p.m., 3 p.m.

Learn the basics of making maple syrup, from identifying trees and how to tap them, to boiling down the sap into syrup. Dress for the weather as part of the program will be outdoors.

Prior registration with payment of $5 per adult and $3 per child is required. For additional information or to register, call Wolcott Mill Metropark at 586-749-5997 or 800-477-3175.

  • Maple’s Sweet Story
    Kensington Metropark Farm Center near Milford/Brighton
    Saturdays & Sundays in March
    Noon – 3 p.m.

Stop in for a hot breakfast from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Farmhouse Grille, and then head out on a guided tour to the sugar bush to see the maple sugaring process, including tapping trees and boiling down the sap. Guided tours begin at noon; the last guided tour leaves at 2:30 pm.

After 4 pm, the sugar bush will remain open for self-guided visits. A re-enactment of an Algonquin winter camp is also located within the woods from noon – 4 pm.

Registration is not required for the weekend programs. Fee: $3 for adults; $1 for seniors and children 3 to 12 years old; children under 3 are free. For more information, call Kensington Metropark at 248-685-1561 or 800-477-3178.

  • Maple Sugaring
    Indian Springs Metropark near White Lake
    Saturdays & Sundays in March
    11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m.

Learn the history of maple sugaring and take a hike out to the sugar bush. Discover how to choose and tap a sugar maple, then go to the sugar shack to see how the collected sap is boiled down to make maple syrup.

The Saturday 11 a.m. session will give tips and techniques for tapping trees, with sap collection starter kits available for purchase at $12 each. Preregistration is required for all programs. Weekend program fee: $3 per person. For more information or to register, call Indian Springs Metropark at 248-625-7280 or  800-477-3192 .

  • Maple’s Sweet Story
    Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center near Flat Rock
    Saturday, March 10
    2 p.m.

Enjoy hot pancakes, sausage and a beverage, and learn the history of maple sugaring. Preregistration is required. Fee: $3 per person. For more information or to register, call Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center at 734-782-3956 or 800-477-3182.

A Metroparks vehicle entry permit is required to enter any Metropark — $25 annually for regular admission, $15 annually for seniors, or $5 daily. Find more information at www.metroparks.com.

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