Park manager’s idea sweet success

One of the state’s newest annual events is the brilliant idea of a manager of one of North Dakota’s state parks.

Chad Trautman, manager at Fort Stevenson State Park, decided five years ago to build a public event around sap drawn from trees growing in the park.

Not only was it a success, Maple Sugaring Day has taken off. So much so that people in other parts of the state are learning to make syrup from the sap of trees in their neck of the woods.

We couldn’t be more excited for Trautman and his park south of Garrison, which now hosts the big event each spring.

The idea that maple syrup can be made in North Dakota, in hindsight, makes sense. Trautman taps boxelder trees, which are closely related to maple trees.

Not unlike production agriculture, there are good years and bad years for sap collection, and it turns out this year’s crop is a good one.

“This year looks like a good sap year,” said Trautman earlier this week. “It was very cold, obviously, and we’re glad that broke for us. The trees are now giving up plenty of sap, so we should have plenty of sap for this year’s event. We’ll be able to show the public all the things we’d like for a maple sugaring event.”

Sweet. It’s nice to hear that at least some good came out of the bitter temps we endured this year. So, maybe in a sense, we deserve to pay a visit to Fort Stevenson and try some of the fine syrup we all suffered for. As if we really need a reason to go; the event promises to be great fun, educational too.

The upcoming Maple Sugaring Day is set for Saturday, April 13 at Fort Stevenson. As reporter Kim Fundingsland wrote in his article about Trautman in Friday’s edition, there will be a pancake and sausage breakfast, complete with genuine North Dakota maple syrup, maple cotton candy, maple popcorn and a professional cook who will be preparing foods using pure maple syrup.

Meeting such a clever and interesting man as Trautman might just be the highlight of a day trip to the park. We are blessed to have such a man at Fort Stevenson.