Tap into sweetness

As winter weather eases and daytime temperatures climb above the freezing mark, the sap begins to flow in area maple trees. Visitors to Whitewater State Park explored the syrup-making process during a demonstration that took them from tap to taste.

After watching the syrup-making process from start to finish, I began to wish I had a few maple trees to tap. It's a simple process and I love pancakes with real maple syrup.

Ken Klotzbach, Post-Bulletin photographer

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A group gathers around a previously tapped maple tree at Whitewater State Park to see how the sap is gathered.


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Anna Ferden, 9, of St. Charles, taps a spile into a pre-drilled hole in a maple tree.,

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Participants were encouraged to taste the subtle sweetness of the dripping sap.

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Joshua Wooward, 6, of Goodview, samples some syrup-covered ice cream at the end of the demonstration.

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Josiah Woodward, 9, of Goodview, drills into a tree trunk with some help from volunteer naturalist Julie McCormack.


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Volunteer naturalist Julie McCormack filters the sap with help from Anna Ferden while her brother Riley Ferden watches at Whitewater State Park.

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The sap is boiled over a wood fire until it gets close to the desired concentration. It's then brought inside for final boiling, filtering and bottling.

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Volunteer naturalist Julie McCormack talks about tree tapping and sap gathering at Whitwater State parks as sap drips in several nearby buckets.

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