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Penokee HELP Village Plans to Expand Maple Syrup Production

Monie Shackleford

Organizers against a mine proposal in northern Wisconsin are looking to maple syrup to provide an economic boost for the region. 

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp, also called the HELP Village has maintained a presence in the Penokee Range for almost two years.

Spokesperson Paul DeMain says maple syrup production is a more sustainable alternative to open pit mining. 

“The tapping industry, not just maple but we’re talking about potential yellow and white birch – we’d like to talk about revitalizing that industry.”

Volunteers will begin prepping for maple syrup season, with a tree tapping ceremony this weekend. 

DeMain says they plan to place at least a hundred taps, and work toward commercial food-grade certification for at least part of the operation. 

“So what we’ll be doing is using food-grade containers, transportation systems, galvanized steel and everything, so that if we do achieve that we can sell to a wholesaler or resell it on the commercial market.”

The Harvest Camp, or HELP Village is located off Moorepark Road in Iron County. 

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