Maple Sugaring Day at Camp Russel, Oglebay

Learn about syrup production & enjoy a pancake breakfast March 16

Something sweet is happening in Oglebay! Naturalists at Oglebay Institute’s Schrader Environmental Education Center have been working hard preparing for the upcoming harvest of maple syrup, which the public can enjoy during OI’s annual Maple Sugaring Day.

Maple Sugaring Day takes place from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, March 16 in the woods behind Camp Russel in Oglebay.

Watch maple syrup being made. Learn about the tapping process, the history of maple syrup production and how to identify maple trees. Taste fresh maple syrup, too, during a hot pancake breakfast at Camp Russel.Maple_Sugaring_14_6

This annual event attracts hundreds of guests each year and is one of the Schrader Center’s most popular programs. This year’s Maple Sugaring Day is sponsored by the Hess Family Foundation.

Take a Hike

Take a hike through the woods with OI naturalists. Stop at learning stations along the way. Learn how Native Americans discovered this “sweet water” and the methods they used to harvest it. Next, hear about colonial methods of sap tapping and try drilling holes with old-fashioned bits and braces. You’ll see how wooden taps, known as spiles, allow sap to flow from tree to bucket. Also, hear about current pipeline techniques. And watch how maple sap is boiled down into syrup, while socializing around a boiling sap evaporator.  Listen to live Bluegrass music, too.Maple_Sugaring_14_4

The program begins in the woods behind Camp Russel. Trail guides depart from the Camp Russel parking lot every half hour beginning at 9 a.m. The last group leaves at 12:30 p.m.

At the end of the tour, enjoy a delicious breakfast that includes pancakes, sausage, juice or coffee.

Make Reservations

Admission is $12. Members of Oglebay Institute receive a discount. Boots and appropriate outdoor clothing are recommended.

Advance registration is encouraged because the event typically sells out. Make reservations online or by calling 304-242-6855.


•It takes 30-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.

•One gallon of maple syrup weighs 11 pounds.

•World production of maple syrup totals 4 million gallons annually, primarily all made during the months of March and April.

•Usually a maple tree is at least 30 years old and 12 inches in diameter before it is tapped.

•Tapping does no permanent damage and only 10 percent of the sap is collected each year.

•Many maples have been tapped for 150 or more years.

•The maple season may last eight to 10 weeks, but sap flows heaviest for about 10-20 days in the early spring, depending on the temperature.

•Maple syrup is graded by color: the lighter syrup has a more delicate flavor and the darker syrup has a stronger flavor.

•Maple syrup is rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.