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Outdoor Winter Adventures

Jan 13, 2019

Are you looking to get in shape or spend quality time with family and friends this new year? Try these winter adventures.

Experience nature’s gym by walking or hiking trails near you. With the leaves off the trees you can see more open vistas on your trek. Conservation areas and nature centers have many choices from easy walks to longer hikes. Ditch the headphones and listen to the birds in stereo. Bring a friend and reap the aerobic benefits together, or refresh in quiet and solitude on your hike.

Winter trout fishing is also popular. Our lakes are cold enough to support trout in the winter so some are stocked for close-to-home fishing. Your family can spend the day catching rainbows without leaving the city.

Try tapping a tree and making your own maple syrup. If you're lucky, you can create your sweet treat in your own backyard. See how it’s done at events in St. Louis and Kansas City this February.

To help find that perfect location for your next winter adventure, download the new MO Outdoors app.

Maple Sugaring Tips

You can tap almost any deciduous (broad leaves, not pine needles) tree in the late winter to collect sap for making syrup and sugar. However, sugar maple tree sap has the highest sugar content, around 3 percent. While this seems low, most other trees have only 1 percent or even less.

  • Forty gallons of sugar maple sap will produce one gallon of syrup. Compare that to walnut trees, which take eighty gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup.
  • Sugar maple trees typically grow in forested uplands, but you can also find them in lowlands next to creeks or even in your own backyard. You can identify sugar maple trees by their opposite branching and bark that peels away vertically, exposing a tan or pink color underneath.
  • Make sure the sugar maple tree is at least ten inches in diameter at breast height (about 4 feet above the ground) before you tap it. If it’s any smaller, you could harm or even kill the tree.
  • Be sure to wait until the temperature stays consistently below freezing (32 F) at night and above freezing during the day to begin tapping. This is when the sap flows.

Learn everything you need to know about maple sugaring.

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winter trout fishing
Trout fishing at Montauk

Maple Sugar Festival.jpg

People at Maple Sugar Festival
Maple Sugar Festival
The popular annual Maple Sugar Festival is expanding this year to embrace even more aspects of winter to become the Rockwoods Reservation Winter in the Woods Festival, Featuring Maple Sugar. The free, family event takes place Saturday, Feb. 2 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

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