A popular annual tradition at Richard M. Nixon County Park has been canceled this year because of damage to trees and snowy conditions at the Springfield Township park.
The Maple Sugar Fest scheduled for Saturday and Sunday can't go on for numerous reasons, including that there aren't enough healthy Maple trees to tap, said park spokesman Jeri Jones.
The trails on which some activities were to be held are covered in several inches of snow, and it has been so cold and snowy this year the trees might not even produce sap, he said. The sap only runs to the top of the tree in friendlier weather conditions, he said.
"With this unusual winter that we've had, it's just another thing we need to cancel because of the weather," he said. Jones said at least seven of the 20 trees to be used for tapping demonstrations have been damaged.
Park naturalist Amber Carothers said taking sap from a damaged tree can further wound it, "because you're taking away some of the stored food supply."
She said the festival was one of the park's most-attended events, and the cancelation is disappointing.
During the two-day event, staff offers tours through various stations to learn the history and methods of maple sugaring, and they offer samples and demonstrations.