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  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Special to

Forest Preserves of Cook County

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2015

Lambrini Lukidis, Forest Preserves of Cook County C: 224-234-2165



Sunday, March 22

Renovated sugar shack now more accessible

Spring is on tap and so is the maple syrup. To mark this harbinger of spring, River Trail Nature Center will host its annual Maple Syrup Celebration, on Sunday, March 22, 11am to 3 pm, 3120 N. Milwaukee in Northbrook.

As daytime temperatures rise above 40 degrees F and nights still drop below freezing, the sap in our sugar maples starts to flow—just the right time to tap them for maple syrup.

Visitors can enjoy a full day of family activities, including:

• Tree-tapping walks in the sugar bush

• Demonstrations of Native American, pioneer and modern maple syrup production

• Free maple syrup samples with French toast sticks

• Food vendors with hot dogs and home-baked goods

• Puppet shows and other children's activities

• 3:00 pm “grand finale” feeding program of some of the nature center’s resident animals

River Trail’s iconic Sugar Shack has recently undergone a major renovation. It now has a new shingle roof, new lighting, and a concrete floor with viewing area that make it fully accessible. The evaporator in the shack gets fired up each year for the Maple Syrup Celebration to demonstrate how it takes 40 gallons of sap from the maples on the property to make just a single gallon of maple syrup.

“Maple Syrup Celebration is a rite of spring,” said Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. “This event is a great way to get the family out of the house after a long winter. I encourage everyone to come learn about this beautiful preserve and nature center beside the river, and learn how humans have sustained ourselves from the land for centuries.”

Admission to Maple Syrup Celebration is free. Visitors can park at the nature center. Overflow parking, with a free shuttle to the nature center, is at Allison Woods, Lake Avenue Woods East and Lake Avenue Woods West.

Maple Syrup Celebration is a Nature Express event, part of the Forest Preserves’ efforts to make the preserves more accessible to all. A free bus will take riders from the pick-up location at 5515 N East River Rd, Chicago, IL 60656 (accessible from the Blue Line CTA Cumberland stop) to the Maple Syrup Celebration and back. To sign up, visit

And for those who want a preview of Maple Syrup Celebration or can’t make it to Northbrook on March 22, the Forest Preserves is holding A Taste of Maple Syrup Fest on Thursday, March 19, 11 am to 2 pm, at Cummings Square, 536 N. Harlem, River Forest. Visitors can learn how real maple syrup is made and enjoy lunch from food trucks with maple-syrup focused menus.

About the Forest Preserves of Cook County

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is the oldest and one of the largest forest preserve systems in the nation, maintaining more than 69,000 acres of open land for the education, pleasure and recreation of the public. The agency strives to protect and restore the county's diverse ecosystems, so all our unique native plants and animals can live and thrive. Each year, millions of people use these lands and facilities to enjoy or study nature, bicycle, hike, fish, cross-country ski, picnic, golf, canoe, or simply relax in a large preserve that leaves urban life behind. The Forest Preserves offers hundreds of events and nature programs for children, adults and families, from nature hikes to archery. For more information, visit

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