Maple Sugaring Days

infographic: A cartoon black bear stands in the forest holding a bucket with NPS logo.

Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3, 2024

10 am-3 pm

Dechow and Olsen Farms in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Located on M-22 and Port Oneida Road.

Join us March 2-3, 2024, from 10 am-3 pm for Maple Sugaring Days, the second annual maple sugaring event at the Lakeshore! Come experience the sugaring process through time. Learn the history of maple sugaring from the Anishinaabe, then travel to the present day at the Olsen Farm. End your adventure by sampling warm syrup or making maple taffy.

The event is free with a park pass.

The fun includes:

  • a self-guided hike,
  • a visit to a historic sugar shack,
  • sap boiling demonstrations,
  • kid's activities,
  • and maple syrup sampling.

Maple Sugaring Days is presented by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in partnership with Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear. This event is in collaboration with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians' Natural Resource Department.

Visit two sites for the Maple Sugaring Days event. If you want to follow the timeline in chronological order, start your day at the Dechow Farm for a self-guided history hike to see tapped maple trees and sap boiling. End your visit at the Olsen Farm to experience first-hand how the sap is finished and try some warm maple syrup. There is nothing like it!

Plan on spending 2.5 hours at the event, visiting both locations. If you arrive after 2 pm, you will only have enough time to take-part in the activities at one site.

Parking is available at each farm site. Look for the parking signs with arrows off of M-22. The lot is in a snowplowed field near the farmhouses. You can either drive and park at each site or follow the groomed path to cross M-22. Port-o-johns are available at each location.

Dress for the weather. The path for the hike at the Dechow Farm can be icy, depending on the conditions. If there is snow or ice, attendees are encouraged to bring their own traction devices, trekking poles, or snowshoes for the event. Snowshoes will be available to borrow and loaned on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no advanced registration needed.

Well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome at the outdoor portions of the event. Pets are not allowed inside historic barns or buildings.

Dechow Farm

Start your experience by meeting park rangers at the entrance to the site. Just past the parking area, you will see the greeter table where you will get an event orientation and find information for the hike.

Explore the Dechow Farm and discover the history of maple sugaring on a (just over) 1 hour, 1-mile self-guided hike to a historic sugar shack. This hike goes up a hill, across an uneven field to tapped maple trees, and then to the sugar shack.
No reservations required.

While you are there, visit with the Dechow family. Hear about their lives on the farm, including their sugaring experience.

Plan to spend 1.5 hours at the Dechow Farm.

Olsen Farm

Visit multiple activity stations at the Olsen Farm anytime from 10 am-3 pm. If you visit the Dechow Farm first, head over to the Olsen Farmhouse after your self-guided hike. In the historic kitchen, see how the sap is boiled down into syrup, candy, or sugar. The other activities are placed around the outside of the house. Be sure to stop at all activities for the full experience.

Plan to spend at least an hour at the Olsen Farm.

Inside the Olsen House

  • Finishing the syrup
  • Making maple sugar and candy
  • Syrup grading scale
  • Sample warm maple syrup
  • Items for sale including fresh maple syrup, books and resources, and Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear items

Outside the Olsen House

Learn about the history of sugaring and get an overview of the process from a historic presenter. This is a must if you are unable to go on the self-guided hike at Dechow.

How does weather and climate play a role in the flow of sap? How are changes in northern Michigan changing the sap season?

Activity Stations

  • Test your skills to balance maple sugaring pails on a yoke
  • Anishinaabe method of warming syrup
  • Practice drilling using a traditional brace and bit

Syrup fun

  • Maple taffy activity
  • Make some maple snowcones

Childrens games

  • Jump rope and bean bags
  • ...and more!

Share your experience at this event on social media using #shareSLBE or #SleepingBearSugaring. Email any feedback or if you would like to be involved in the 2024 event: e-mail us.

Dechow Farm:
3991 W Harbor Hwy, Maple City, MI 49664

Olsen Farm:
3164 W Harbor Hwy, Maple City, MI 49664

Last updated: March 25, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630


231 326-4700

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