Pancakes in the Park
There will be something home grown at Maquoketa Caves annual pancake breakfast April 13 – the syrup.
Park visitors can watch sap from maple trees in the park being boiled down into syrup; one of various outdoor activities they can check out, before or after sitting down to a pancake and sausage breakfast.
Serving will be from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., in the main shelter area of the park, seven miles northwest of Maquoketa, off County road Y-31. Adults (13 and up) can eat for $5. For 5-12 year olds, breakfast is $3. Kids under 5 eat free. The breakfast and activities are sponsored by the park staff and the Friends of Maquoketa Caves group.
“We want to have several programs underway, to demonstrate park features…or other activities,” explains park ranger Scott Dykstra. “We will have someone explaining how we tap the sap from park trees and cook it down into syrup. There will be a Dutch oven cooking demonstration…with samples available.”
The Maquoketa Fire Department will be on hand with its big truck, for kids to check out. Smokey the Bear will be visiting park goers. A snakes/reptile program is also scheduled. DNR fisheries workers will be on hand, with species found in the area and the nearby Mississippi River. Park staff have a scavenger hunt and hike planned, too.
The April 13 event highlights the opening of the park’s caves for the season. One of the activities park goers may choose will be the short education session, explaining White Nose Syndrome.
WNS, contagious within bat populations, first appeared in North America in 2007. The fungus which can lead to infection was detected on a bat at Maquoketa Caves last year. Cave explorers now go through a five minute session, showing how to avoid spread of the spores which can cause the fungus, and eventually appearance of the disease.