[moderator comment...see 2/8 reply below for more information]
Hi everyone! I started a petition to Rob Davies, the NYS Forester who refuses to let maple producers tap sugar maple trees on state lands even though the bill has passed the assembly, the senate, and has been signed by the governor. Go to http://www.change.org/petitions/robert-k-davies-new-yorks-state-for... to sign it. Thanks!
The law that allows for tapping on state forest land provides an exciting opportunity for maple producers. The NYS Maple Producers Association worked hard for this legislation. However, there was something that didn't quite make sense about the stalled status of the legislation moving into an implementation phase, so I called Rob Messenger who is the DEC Chief of the Bureau of Public Lands Management. His bureau would develop the regulations that guide the tapping. Rob clarified for me that the DEC is currently working to make this law operational. They are reviewing GIS data of state forest land to determine where tapping is feasible (species mixtures, access, stem sizes, etc.). They have begun the work of developing guidelines so they can solicit bids from producers to tap on state forest land. They had hoped to solicit bids that would allow tapping in the 2012 maple season (the early season has prevented that). Rob said they expect to be able to solicit bids for tapping on some pilot state forest land projects in maple season 2013, and work out the bugs before deciding whether to move this program into the mainstream of their management system. I got the sense that Rob is quite interested in making sure this happens, and that this reflects the attitude of Rob Davies the DEC Director of Lands and Forest (the state forester).
I've been thinking that it might be helpful to consider some of the characteristics of tapping guidelines that might apply to state forest land, and thus take advantage of the strengths of this forum. We must recognize this forum is not a random sample, and further that there are administrative constraints that might limit some desired options. However, it doesn't hurt to collectively brainstorm and see what ideas emerge. For example, today when I was tapping I was pleased (very pleased actually) with the simplicity of finding clean wood since we started marking each year's hole with a spot of paint on the trunk to facilitate "pattern tapping." I could easily find the recent holes, offset by an inch or two, and drill into clean wood. Pattern tapping would be even more useful on trees that didn't have a 50 year history of random tapping. How would other producers feel about using pattern tapping on state forest land trees?
Have a great maple season.