Photos include: group at historic Fort Snelling above the park, a look at tree branching with the naturalist, remembering the Dakota people interned at this site in 1862-63, a look at different maple syrup grades, the 3 part maple syrup boiler, a pause on the stairs leading us up the bluff behind the center, and the terrace at the top.
Did you know that Minnesota is 11th in the country in production of maple syrup (behind Wisconsin that figures in the top ten!)? That it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup? That you can tell a maple tree in the winter by its characteristic pattern of opposite branching? These are some of the details we learned on a sunny, warm day the during the popular maple syrup program at the park.
True to the TtGS mission of connecting parks and transit, eight of us made our way to the state park from the Fort Snelling light rail station. The route leads through the old military fort historic site and takes about 20-25 minutes if you walk directly to the visitors’ center using the staircase. A little hard to find maybe, but if you walk toward the Mendota Bridge (southwest side of the fort grounds) you can’t miss it. Also, cutting through parking lots and across the grounds at the fort saves a little time, though taking in the views up and down the Mississippi from the bluff-side walk in the fort area is a nice detour. The staircase lands you right on a terrace at the visitors’ center, very convenient. An alternate route – slightly longer – is down a paved, steep bicycle/walking path on the south side of the fort. You then have a short, pleasant walk through the park to reach the center (actually our route on the way out). Reaching the fort grounds is described in the TtGS “how-to” post and includes a walking map.
Transit via light rail was uncomplicated, but it’s always interesting to know what route combinations people used. Cynthia and Windy coming from Rosedale, chose a combination of high frequency bus #84 and light rail from the 46th street station. Rich, who lives in Anoka, always manages to figure out a route to outings. He couldn’t make this trip due to a cold, but sent me the connections he’d mapped out. Here they are, for use by all and sundry: