Exploration Guides

We're all explorers. You just need the right guide.

Indian Springs Metropark Sugar Bush

Indian Springs Metropark’s nature area includes a small sugar bush and sugar shack, which they give tours of during the early spring.

A sugar bush is a stand of maple trees, ideally sugar maples.  Although you can make a sugary syrup from nearly any deciduous trees (conifers, like pine trees, make turpentine, instead, which isn’t really as tasty), the sap from a maple tree has much more sugar than any other.

To make maple syrup, you place taps into maple trees in early spring, ideally when nights are below freezing and days are above freezing, to maximize the sap flow.  The number of taps is determined by the diameter of the tree and, as long as you don’t exceed this number, they do no harm to the tree.  From each tap, you hang a bag or bucket, or attach a collection hose, to collect the watery, nearly tasteless sap as it slowly drips from the trees.  This sap is then collected and taken to the sugar shack.

Once at the sugar shack, the water-like sap is slowly boiled down in a broad, shallow evaporator pan, allowing the water to boil off and the remaining contents, sugar and other chemicals which give it the distinctive maple flavor, to concentrate.  By measuring the specific gravity of the liquid, it’s possible to determine when each grade of maple syrup has been reached.

Return to the main park page.

This page is just a small part of the Indian Springs Metropark app.

May 12, 2011 Posted by | | , , , | Leave a Comment

Indian Springs Metropark

Indian Springs Metropark is a medium-sized park in the Huron Clinton Metropark chain.  Located at the headwaters of the Huron River, this park includes interpretive nature trails, with plenty of old farm and sawmill equipment, a paved trail for biking and in-line skaters, an equestrian trail, the Environmental Discovery Center (with underwater dome), a small sugar bush, a golf course, and a hilltop picnic area, complete with eco-maze, “tot lot,” and water-based playground.

Visit the official Indian Springs Metropark page.

Return to the main Huron Clinton Metroparks page.

This page is just a small part of the Indian Springs Metropark app.

May 12, 2011 Posted by | | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spring is here! You can taste it on your pancakes.

Yes, there’s still snow on the ground, but don’t let that fool you.  It’s springtime in Michigan.  Spring traditionally brings the end of snow, wildflowers, warmer weather, and, unfortunately, road construction, but we’ll ignore that last part.

One thing we shouldn’t forget about is that springtime in Michigan also brings the maple syrup season.  Parks and museums all over have started setting up their sugar operations, tapping trees throughout their sugar bushes, and have started producing one of the sweetest agricultural products available anywhere.  Be sure to take advantage of it with a visit to one of your local parks.

March 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a Comment