Archive for March, 2007

Lost in Time

The Allegany State Park naturalist took an extened trip in time in March, a trip into the past to visit historic maple sugar camps.  The first was a camp of the Native Americans soon after the first colonists arrived from Europe.

The Native Americans used rocks, heated red hot, to bring the maple sap they collected to a boil.  They needed to keep the sap boiling for a long time to evaporate the water until the thick syrup would crystallize into sugar.  They stored the sugar in birch bark containers.

Native American Camp

The early settlers learned about maple sugar from the Iroquois.  Veterans of the Revolutionary War were granted tracts of land and encouraged to settle the wilderness of western New York.  They moved into the woods in the spring when the maple sap ran, living in cloth tents or bark lean-tos. 

Early Settler Camp_tent>/>

The early settlers improved upon the methods of the Iroquois. They used three iron cauldrons for boiling the sap. Fresh sap went into the largest cauldron. When it had boiled for a time, it was transferred to a smaller cauldron, and then a third one, smaller still. When it had boiled to a thick liquid in the last cauldron it was poured into barrels and allowed to crystallize. The settlers used the sugar for sweetening and preserving foods, and for trade.

Maple Sugar Camps 002>/>

The time warp takes our naturalist ahead in time again to the 1940s where she finds a veteran of another war making, not maple sugar, but syrup.  He fires the evaporator to the sound of the radio and prepares a maple treat for visiting Boy Scouts.

Model 1940s Sugarhouse

Our naturalist follows the Boy Scouts to the Camp Allegany Classroom, and finds herself in her own time once again. The Scouts are performing sap science experiments under the direction of “Nature Mary.”

Maple Sap Lab Activities 1

The tour guide for the trip through time is Wayne Robins of Nature Ed-Ventures. To learn more about their educational programs, please visit their web site at


March 30, 2007 at 9:19 pm Leave a comment

Trail Maps

pdf files of the Trail Maps here in Allegany State Park.

Here is a map of all the Streams in the park.

XC Skiing Reports

For recent updates on the Art Roscoe Cross Country Skiing Trail Conditions go to the Skinny Skiers Website

Allegany State Park Photos on Flickr

Blog Stats

  • 27,735 hits