Anyone who has walked along the Brownstone Trail in April is familiar with the sights and sounds of spring. From the chirping of migrating birds to the shimmering of Lake Superior on a brisk morning stroll, spring is a magical time of year along the trail.   

If you looked close enough this last April, you might have even seen the taps in the maple trees during the sugaring season! An alternative education class at Bayfield Middle School has been tapping maple trees along the Brownstone Trail for the last three years, providing a sweet educational experience.  

Read a recap from Cate Williams, Bayfield Middle School Alternative Education Teacher, about their iskigamizigan (sugar bush in Ojibwe)!

Collecting Maple Syrup
Collecting sap along the trail
Sugaring Process
Boiling maple syrup over open fire
Final product maple syrup along Brownstone Trail
Final maple syrup product

“We wrapped up our iskigamizigan season on the 19th of April!  We harvested about 70 gallons of sap from the maples on the Brownstone Trail, a little bit more than last year despite having the taps in for about a week less.

We used an evaporator for part of our boiling and then finished our syrup over an open fire for flavor.  We made pancakes and waffles for all middle school – both students and staff – on April 19th. My 12 students divided up the remaining syrup and each person will take home about 8oz.

We observed that different trees yielded more sap than others – trees that ran fast last year produced less this year and vice versa.  They tapped one tree farther down the trail than the others, and that was the highest producer this year. It’s been really cool to see their relationship to the trees grow this year. Chi-Miigwech (big thanks in Ojibwe) for this opportunity!” 

Cate Williams

Bayfield Middle School Alternative Education Teacher