“Today, we’re washing buckets and tapping some trees,” says Dave Leese, president of LORDA (Lansdowne Outdoor Recreational Park), as he stood at the popular spot situated in rural Pictou County.
In one bucket that started collecting sap on Saturday morning, about an inch of sap had gathered, after about an hour.
Proceeds from the production of maple syrup is used to help pay the bills at the park, which depends on such sales, as well as donations and an annual day of live music (officially called Music LORDA) that takes place every summer, in order to maintain operations.
“Hopefully, by Monday we should have enough sap to get it boiling,” Leese says, adding that there are always trees that are maturing enough to be almost ready for tapping. “You walk through the woods and you’ll see other, younger trees that are getting ready to tap.”
A non-profit organization that was started by Leese’s father Dave and a couple of other community-minded citizens, LORDA has been open for almost 30 years, giving disabled and senior citizens an opportunity to enjoy nature, perhaps use the overnight campground and take part in activities, and maybe do some fishing in the well-stocked ponds.
The park is designed to be accessible for seniors and people of any age with disabilities.
Other community organizations and special interest groups also have access to the park.
Leese estimated that the several volunteers who showed up on Saturday morning would tap around 500 trees in the park, which opened almost 30 years ago and sits un roughly 300 acres of property (according to Leese, it takes 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon maple syrup).
Sold under the brand name LORDA, maple syrup from LORDA park has travelled great distances, some of it through on-line sales, others through tourists who take a little taste of Nova Scotia back home with them.
“Our maple has gone not just around here, it’s gone to Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, England, France, Japan, different spots of the U.S.,” says Leese.
LORDA does not charge for camping or fishing on its grounds, but encourages people to make donations.