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ISKIGAM Mii sa azhigwa ji-iskigamizigeng Iron County Wis.When Paul DeMain spots a milk tanker truck rumbling down the road he sees the future of the maple sap industry in the Penokee Range and wider Ojibwe ceded territory.You load those trucks with sap from cooperating sugar bushes take it all to a centralized facilitymaybe an old dairyand boil it down to syrup and sugar said DeMain an Oneida tribal member with an Ojibwe family tree that branches to Lac Courte Oreilles and Bad River. DeMain outlined a dreamy sweet vision for bringing Penokee Gold maple syrup to market as he worked an iskigamizigan sugar bush with Sokaogon member Larry Ackley at the Harvest Education Learning Project HELP Camp along the north-slope Penokee foothills in early March. The tapping potential in Wisconsin Michigan areas of Minnesota is really outstanding DeMain said. Market demand is growing every year and a product that is of indigenous origin can be very attractive. Maple sap can be the foundation for environmentally friendly sustainable jobs. AregionalmovementisalreadyafootwiththerecentformationoftheIntertribal Maple Syrup Producers Cooperative Co-op based in the upper Great Lakes. Non- tribal syrup and maple sugar products dominate the market and Co-op members are working to promote the native label and the long cultural and nutritional history that goes with it. DownHighway77eastoftheHELPCampDeMainAckleyandassociateshave their hands full at a second iskigamizigan located in the county forest north of Upson. With assistance from GLIFWC Iron County authorities issued an off-reservation treaty harvest permit for the site. The county forester designated sap-harvest trees with a swath of blue paint. While monitoring yields between the two woodlots DeMain discovered that the county land trees released around twice the sap volume per tap as at the HELP Camp.The sugar content in unprocessed sap was also higher at the county sugarbush. Demain said that as more native people become involved and learn how and where to tap the maple sap industry may return to the heydays of the latter-1800s when Ojibwes and Menominees sold sugar by the tonnage. Beyond maples upper Great Lakes tapping opportunities extend to other native trees including white and yellow birch. Birch syrup is very high in antioxidents DeMain said. Its used to treat cancers and other major diseases. At a time when Americans are trending toward consuming healthier local foods DeMain said the time is right to get maple and birch products into the mainstream. By early April around a month after the season began Iron County maple sap began running cloudy and it was time to pull the taps. The tree only gives what it canDeMain said. Itll use the rest for budding out for springtime. Natives eye maple forests for income sustainability By Charlie Otto Rasmussen Staff Writer MAZINAIGAN PAGE 12 Town of Anderson Wis.There were plenty of hugs and handshakes to go with the pancakes and syrup served up at the HELP Camp April 25. The 2nd Annual Penokee Pancake Feed at the Harvest Education Learning Project HELP Camp drew people from around the region to raise funds share stories and celebrate the recent departure of the mining company Gogebic Taconite. Its a great turnout for a great cause said Lori Liddle an event vol- unteer from Neillsville Wisconsin who traveled 160 miles to the Penokee Moun- tains foothills. And even though theres this sense of accomplishment we still have work to do. Revenue from cash donations was split between the David Joe Bates Fam- ily and a fund to support HELP Camp operations. Bates a Bad River member and Penokee preservation advocate lost his son Parker in a devastating house fire April 1 in Odanah. Whether you kicked in the sug- gested 10 or showed up with empty pockets all comers were treated to a splendid mid-afternoon meal that looked a lot like breakfast. There was bacon donated by the ODovero Farm just down the road organic eggs manoo- min and blueberry pancakes cornbread Johnnycakes sausages coffee juice and the main attractionmaple syrup and in its refined form maple sugar ziinzibaakwad. A collection of jars in theservinglineofferedsyrupfromahand- ful of sugarbushes each with a distinct tintFondduLacsSpiritLakeMadeline Island Sioux River Moore Please and Penokee Gold. FormanythePancakeFeedprovided a first opportunity to gather and celebrate a recent environmental victory for the watershed.GogebicTaconiteasubsidiary of Cline Development Group suspended efforts to build a massive iron mine in the Penokees in early March. Since its cre- ation in 2013 by the Lac Courte Oreilles LCOTribeandPaulDeMaintheHELP Camp has rallied the state along with neighboring regions against the mining proposal. Throughout the seasons HELP has brought attention to a multitude of natural treasures available in the hills some with sustainable economic poten- tial like tapping the extensive stands of sugar maples. Were here to celebrate a lot of things. Were here to help contribute to JoeBatestohelphimgetbackonhisfeet. Andwereheretocelebratethediscovery of gold in the Penokees said DeMain whoisdevelopingthePenokeeGoldsyrup brand with other tribal members. Originally sited in the Iron County Forest along Moore Park Road in April 2013 the camp was translocated only a stones throw east to private land after persistent objections from some county officials. From the beginning the camp has drawn a critical eye to GTacs mining proposal highlighting potential negative impacts destructive to both the environ- ment and human health. In the process DeMain NickVander Puy Larry and Jen Ackley and other camp denizens have succeeded in making the case that the Penokees are worth saving. The mining company has left the area for now but no one believes they are gone for good. Maple syrup GTac departure sweeten HELP fundraiser HoneyereDeMainleftofLacCourte Oreilles and Jeff St. Germaine of Lac du Flambeau tapped off-reservation sugar maples in the Iron County Forest in early March. Inset DeMain said producers are moving to smaller diameter taps. photosbyCharlieOttoRasmussen Volunteers at the 2nd Penokee Pancake event cheer the winner of a fresh bottle of maple syrup on April 25. Everyone who made a cash donation was entered into a drawing for zhiiwaagamizigan maple syrup and other items. Donations support operation of the HELP Camp and provide assistance to Bad Rivers David Joe Bates who is recovering from a house fire that took his son Parker. Pictured from left Debbie Crowe Oneida Rachel Goodpaster Ho Chunk and Lori Liddle of Neillsville Wisconsin. Inset Fluffy pancakes await locally-produced maple syrup. COR By Charlie Otto Rasmussen Staff Writer