"The ideal day is about 45 degrees, just like we have today, and a frosty night before," said Kevin Bradbury, manager at Shawnee State Park. "The sap should be flowing pretty good."
About 40 attended the maple syrup-making demonstration and pancake brunch Saturday at the park. Some of the children tapped trees while some families hooked up their hot griddles on picnic tables and started making pancakes.
The park staff began boiling sap around 10 a.m. and placed 40 gallons of sap into the evaporator, said Jenny Richards, park naturalist.
"It's boiled down quite a bit, but not enough to make syrup yet," Richards said. "So we brought some syrup that we boiled last year for this event."
Richards said about 14 buckets (2 1/2-gallon size) were placed on the 10 trees that had been tapped.
"One of the trees is so big it has three buckets on it," Richards said.
Bradbury showed the children how to drill a hole to tap the trees. He told them to take the drill and "use your belly" to hold the drill. Several children waited their turn. After the tap hole was drilled, Bradbury helped the kids place a spout in the hole, then they placed the bucket on the tree and waited for the sap to flow.
"It's really a simple process," he said. "You get the sap out of the tree, then you boil it."
Bradbury said there are two area farms that make maple syrup, Tim Hamilton in Scioto County and Mapleberry Farms in Waverly. Bradbury said Hamilton already has made about 40 gallons of syrup this year and had loaned the park his wood-fired evaporator for Saturday's demonstration.
Among those attending the event were Belinda Hopkins and Jenny Lavender, camp hosts, who provide programs and activities for campers at the park from April through October.
DEBORAH DANIELS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.