Maple tapping a sign spring isn’t far off in Clark County

Some days it may seem like winter is just going on and on but the trees know it’s almost over. They are waking up.

We cannot see it but it’s happening, really.

During the last half of February when the day time temperatures rise above 32 degrees but the nighttime temperatures are below freezing, the tree’s sap begins to move within the trunk.

RELATED: Cottrel: Clark County has plenty of local recreation options

All tree sap has small amounts of sugar, it is what fuels the tree to grow. But maple trees have the most. Of all the varieties of maple trees, the sugar maple has the most sweetness in its sap.

The Native Americans learned this long ago, well before their land was invaded by explorers and settlers. Native Americans discovered the sweetness of the maple sap and were the first to figure out how to make maple syrup.

It’s appropriate that one of this winter’s first sugar boiling events will be held in the recreated Shawnee village at George Rogers Clark Park this coming Saturday, Feb. 17.

“We’ve been harvesting sap from maple trees in the park,” said Justin Houston, who’s in charge of the Kispoko Village in George Rogers Clark Park.

DETAILS: Don’t have time to cook dinner? Clark County meal prep service can help

On Saturday the clear maple sap will be boiled into syrup at the Native American village site.

According to Houston, the early Native Americans would put hot stones into the sap in containers made of clay, bark or wood. After trade began with the Europeans, they used the more efficient metal pots over a wood fire.

This year the maple sap boiling at the park will be done in modern clothing using a metal kettle, but the heat source will be the same that Shawnee and pioneers used up to modern times — cooking over a wood fire.

There is no formal program planned but the public is invited to visit Kispoko just to see how it is done. As the day and the evaporation in the kettle goes on, there may be some syrup to sample later.

This is also the perfect opportunity to explore the park and see all that is behind the Hertzler House, the Fair at New Boston field and the Native Village. A lake, hiking trails, meandering streams and a view of a waterfall make this quiet park a local treasure.

READ MORE: Unknown Clark County treasure opens

Most of the large maple syrup processing operations in Ohio are in the northeastern counties. has a Maple Madness Driving Trail all over the state during the month of March. The website is full of great information about some of the larger producers.

Locally we have some folks tapping maple trees for family gatherings.

Kyle Koehler, state representative for Ohio’s 79th District, and his family will start their annual maple sap collection and boiling this weekend. Last year they tapped 70 trees in this fun family effort that reminds us that maple sap collecting and boiling was a festive time for our pioneer ancestors and the Native Americans in this area.

Keep your eyes open as you drive around over these next few weeks and you might see sap collecting buckets of a variety of colors attached to maple trees in a woods or even a yard.

And remember, even if no bucket is attached, the sap is moving within those tree trunks and the trees are waking up.

Can spring be far behind?

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Officials respond to fire reported at Dayton duplex
Officials respond to fire reported at Dayton duplex

Officials are responding to Kammer Avenue on reports of a structure fire that occurred early Monday morning.  Crews were dispatched to the residence in the 300 block around 12:20 a.m. on reports of a working fire, per initial reports. We have a crew on the way to the scene and will continue to update this story with additional details. 
WPAFB Monday Weather: Warm temperatures, rain chances continue
WPAFB Monday Weather: Warm temperatures, rain chances continue

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE— A dry day is expected with temperatures nearing 90 degrees. A shower or storm can’t be ruled out, however, they’re expected to be isolated.  Rain chances continue into Tuesday due to Alberto remnants. An overall hot day is expected with mostly sunny skies and 90 degree temperatures.
Crews respond to stabbing reported on Ferguson Ave. in Dayton
Crews respond to stabbing reported on Ferguson Ave. in Dayton

Crews are on scene of a reported stabbing that occurred on Ferguson Avenue late Sunday night. Initial reports indicate officials responded to the incident in the 900 block around 11 p.m.  We’re working to learn more details and will continue to update this story. 
Spectrum hiring locally as it expands workforce by 20 percent
Spectrum hiring locally as it expands workforce by 20 percent

Spectrum is looking to expand its local workforce. The company, which offers cable, internet and phone service, serves 45 states and employs more than 95,000 people. It’s looking to fill as many as 20 local positions for direct sales representatives. Top representatives earn more than $100,000 a year, according to the company. MORE: Global health...
Dayton man jailed in child rape case
Dayton man jailed in child rape case

A 39-year-old Dayton man remains jailed in connection to a child rape case. Chay Carmi Lane was arrested around 7 p.m. Saturday by Dayton police at the Kettering Police Department, 3600 Shroyer Road. He was then booked into the Montgomery County Jail, where he is being held without bond on suspicion of three counts of rape of a child younger than 10...
More Stories