Sleeping Bear Dunes hosts Maple Sugaring Days

From staff reports

It is maple sugaring time in northern Michigan, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is hosting its second public maple sugaring event. Maple Sugaring Days will be at the Dechow and Olsen farms in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District Saturday, March 2, and Sunday, March 3, each day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Experience the process of making maple syrup from start to finish and learn how maple sugaring has evolved over the last 400 years. Maple Sugaring Days is presented by the National Lakeshore in partnership with Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear, and in collaboration with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians’ Natural Resource Department.

Start your journey at the Dechow farm, where you can embark on a self-guided one-mile history hike that will take just over an hour. Stop at stations along the way to learn about the maple sugaring process throughout different time periods. The beginning of the trail goes uphill, eventually leveling out across an uneven farm field. A historic presenter will be at the Olsen farm to summarize the history hike for anyone who does not prefer to walk to the sugar shack. In addition to the hike, visit with the Dechow family and learn about their sugaring experience on the farm.

After hiking at Dechow, visit the Olsen farm to see the sap finished in the farmhouse. Sugaring activities and kid’s games will be taking place on the lawn. Maple candy, maple syrup, and Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear items will be for sale in the Olsen house gift shop.

Participants should plan on spending 2.5 hours at this event. Those that arrive after 2 p.m. will only have time to take part in the activities at one site.

Parking is available at each farm. Look for parking signs with arrows off M-22, near Port Oneida Road. The lots are in a snow-plowed field near the farmhouses. Participants can either drive and park at each site or follow the groomed path to cross M-22.

Dress for the weather. The hike at the Dechow farm can be icy. If there is snow or ice, attendees are encouraged to bring their own traction devices, trekking poles, or snowshoes for the event. Snowshoes will be available to borrow and loaned on a first-come, first-served basis. No advanced registration is needed for the event.

On Saturday, March 2, join a Community Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., just down the road from Port Oneida at CQ’s Cabin in the village area of The Homestead Resort. The breakfast is hosted by The Homestead and sponsored by the Sleeping Bear Visitor’s Bureau with proceeds benefiting Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear who help fund and organize the Maple Sugaring Days. The Pancake Breakfast food includes pancake, sausage, fruit, coffee, milk, and juice. Admission: $12 per adult, $6 for children ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and under.