Maple lovers from near and far make the pilgrimage to Destination Nackawic every spring to enjoy the sweet taste of maple syrup. This delicious treat has deep roots in the area, with several multigenerational family businesses producing maple syrup that’s enjoyed throughout New Brunswick and beyond. Spring is tapping season, which makes for a special time in our community. Join us to learn more about this unique part of our local culture, while enjoying sugar shacks, guided tours, pancake breakfasts, and more, all while indulging in the sweet taste of maple syrup!   

What Is Maple Tapping? 

Maple tapping is the process of harvesting sap from maple trees to make maple syrup. Tapping has been practiced for centuries in Atlantic Canada, with the first French colonists learning about it from Indigenous peoples. From the earliest inhabitants to modern-day communities, maple trees have always provided important sustenance to those living near them. 

Tapping derives its name from the process of tapping holes into the bark of the tree, just deep enough to insert a spigot without damaging the tree’s core structure. From there, tubing systems are connected to each spigot, which are then deposited into buckets that collect the sap. Individual trees can produce forty liters of sap in a single season. That sap then needs to be boiled down until becoming quite thick, with those forty liters yielding roughly one liter of delicious syrup.  

Roots Of Tapping  

New Brunswick is the third largest maple syrup producer in the world, generating over four million kilograms of it annually, and shipping out maple syrup products to 35 countries across the globe. Here in Destination Nackawic, maple syrup has been a family business throughout the region and surrounding areas going back hundreds of years. This all began with the Hagerman family of Bear Island, who launched their operation in the mid 1800s. Both the Hagerman and Arbuckle families can trace their operation back to the mid-eighteen hundreds. The sweet treat has been an integral part of the local community and economy ever since, with several local families now continuing this tradition. 

Maple Fun for the Whole Family 

Maple tapping is a long-standing tradition in Destination Nackawic, and visitors can explore its rich history all spring long while indulging in delicious maple syrup creations. The main attraction of any tapping season is a trip to a sugar shack, which refers to the building where maple sap is boiled down into syrup, often accompanied by activities such as tours, tastings, meals, shows and more for families to enjoy.  

At Dumfries Maples, tapping season has expanded to include a sap house and cookhouse fed by the businesses’ 6000 taps. Each spring, the Scott family welcomes hundreds of people to their picturesque location overlooking the Saint John River Valley, to learn about the process and take part in maple taffy pulls and weekend pancake breakfasts. Dumfries also offer snowshoe rentals for those looking to take advantage of the beautiful nature trails around their cookhouse, with sizes available for everyone in the family. You’ll want to be sure to dress for the weather, and call ahead to reserve your space.  

Additional Products 

Maple tapping doesn’t end with just maple syrup though! The tapping process is also used to create additional beloved products such as maple-flavored taffy, butter, and sugar. Maple taffy is a classic treat made from maple syrup that is boiled, poured over snow and then rolled up onto wooden sticks. It’s a staple of sugar shacks and a classic New Brunswick experience. Maple butter is a cherished sweet spread that can be enjoyed on toast, pancakes, or waffles for a delightful breakfast treat. It’s also delicious when used as an ingredient in baking, giving desserts that extra special touch with its mild sweetness. Maple sugar, meanwhile, is a type of sweetener with a far more concentrated maple flavor than maple syrup. Its small granules make it ideal for adding sweetness and maple flavor to oatmeal, smoothies, ice cream, French Toast, and other baked goods. 


See You This Tapping Season! 

Maple tapping is a unique and treasured process that has been practiced by people in the Destination Nackawic region for centuries. Harvesting and producing maple syrup continues to be an integral part of our local culture and economy, providing sustenance, promoting sustainability, and continuing to build on an important cultural legacy for our region. We look forward to welcoming you to Destination Nackawic this spring, to take part in one of our most exciting times of year. See you this tapping season!