St. LOUIS, Mo.— The annual Maple Sugar Festival at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Rockwoods Reservation will not take place this year due to necessary road repair work near the visitor center, anticipated to begin in February. This roadwork would impede access and flow through the area, especially for large volumes of traffic, preventing large-scale public events, such as the Maple Sugar Festival.
The popular event, which takes place annually on the first Saturday in February and has drawn as many as 6,000 visitors, will return in 2018. However, those wishing to learn more about maple sugaring can still do so at a number of smaller programs being offered at Rockwoods this February.
The Making Maple Syrup programs held at Rockwoods are an excellent opportunity for families to learn skills to collect and boil maple sap to create their own maple syrup from trees they may already have in their yards. The programs are suitable for ages seven and up and will be held three times during February, including:
Participants will learn some of the science behind sap flow, the important historical role maple sugaring played for our pioneer ancestors, and practical ways to harvest the benefits for themselves. Visitors must dress for the weather as the programs will take place outdoors.
MDC also invites younger children, age four to seven, to the Cakes for Tots program Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10 a.m.-Noon. Kids will learn all about the sugar maple tree and get a taste of pancakes with authentic maple syrup made at Rockwoods Reservation.
The programs are free, but openings are limited and advanced registration is required by calling 636-458-2236.
For about six weeks, from mid-January to the end of February, nature cooks up its own sweet delights within sugar maple trees as the sap begins to flow, ready to be tapped for making sugar and syrup. In Missouri, February is prime maple sugaring season because it produces the right weather conditions. February has the perfect combination of below freezing temperatures at night and above freezing temperatures during the day that causes the sap to flow. The greater the night-to-day temperature difference, the more the sap flows.
MDC’s Rockwoods Reservation is located in Wildwood at 2751 Glencoe Road, off Highway 109 between I-44 and Highway 100. To learn more about backyard maple sugaring, including step-by-step instructions, go online at https://goo.gl/a2pbjF.