Kingston ON – As much as the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted all our lives and limited our opportunities to gather with family and friends, Cataraqui Conservation says it is still committed to encouraging area residents to enjoy the outdoors safely this spring.
Cataraqui Conservation's is not able to run the normal Maple Madness festivities this year, but it has stated it wants to continue its nearly four-decade long celebration of the history, heritage, and cultural significance of maple syrup season by offering maple themed activities at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area.
After working with the local public health unit, maple programming will run for three weekends in March starting March 13, with guided hikes and demonstration areas. The most significant changes, due to Covid-19 protocols, are that there will be no wagon rides to the sugar bush, no puppet shows in the Outdoor Centre and no pancakes.
Cataraqui Conservation noted that it was an extremely difficult decision to cut back on the beloved and popular aspects of Maple Madness, but necessary under current circumstances. Cataraqui Conservation staff still felt it was important to offer some programming to help alleviate the winter blahs and celebrate the coming of spring.
As in past years, all activities take place at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, 1641 Perth Road (Division Street North) just north of Highway 401 in Kingston.
There will be guided sugar bush hikes where visitors can learn how maple syrup was made in past ages, including tree tapping demonstrations. For this activity, pre-registration is required. The Outdoor Centre will feature its own maple demonstration area for those with limited mobility or small children who are unable to make the trek back into the sugar bush. Again, pre-registration is required. There will also be a Maple Shop set up on the front lawn of the Outdoor Centre to purchase maple products, including maple syrup, maple butter and maple lollipops. The washrooms and snack bar in the Outdoor Centre will also be open.
For folks who want to wander along the various trails at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area on these weekends, Cataraqui Conservation staff will provide some family friendly activities to help learn a little more about the flora and fauna of our ecosystem. These include eyes-only scavenger hunts, species identification checklists and more. The sugar bush interpretive trail will not be open to those who do not have a ticket on the weekends. The trail will be open during the week for self-guided hikes.
As stated above, registration is required for all guided hikes and maple demonstrations. Face coverings are required in the sugar bush, at the demonstration site and in and around the Outdoor Centre and Maple Shop, as per recommended guidelines by KFL&A Public Health and provincial government protocols. Staff will continue to work with the health unit and monitor pandemic guidelines, please check the website or call before you attend as programs are subject to change.
For more information, visit Cataraqui Conservation's Facebook page, follow @CataraquiRCA on Twitter, or go to www.cataraquiconservation.ca/pages/maple-madness.