With a name like Maplewood State Park it’s no surprise that maple syrup is a big deal at this northwestern park. For years the Friends of Maplewood have been fundraising and coordinating logistics to build a sugar shack for the growing maple syrup interpretive program. The building is in the neighborhood of $100,000 and Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota has been the fiscal sponsor for these funds. Now, all that hard work is paying off.
In summer 2016 workers began breaking ground in the field near the Trail Center for a 20’ x 28’ building. The DNR chose the exact site to fit with future long-range plans for a new Trail/Visitor Center. Work continued through the fall on this sugar shack, as the building is known, with volunteers providing labor under the direction of a certified contractor.
The shack has a rustic look with a metal roof. Inside will be an evaporator that boils down the sap collected from the park’s trees to make syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup. There will also be a large viewing area for park users to learn about the process.