Magnificent maples

Summit Metro Parks
2 min readMar 22, 2023

Janean Kazimir & Joe Malmisur, Interpretive Naturalists

Maple trees in Autumn.

Some of the most magnificent and beneficial trees in the forests of Summit County are maples. Red, sugar and silver maples, and their distant cousin the box elder, are found throughout the park district and are even emblazoned in SMP’s logo! Historically, these trees have been valued for furniture, flooring, cabinetry and cutting boards.

Red maples are best known for their brilliant fall color, recognizable red twigs in winter, and bountiful flowers in springtime, which are a crucial early source of pollen and nectar to our many native bee species. Sugar maples are of course the source of oh-so-sweet maple syrup and often produce gorgeous shades of yellow and orange in fall. All maples provide a great source of hardwood lumber, countless seeds to sustain wildlife and a food source for 273 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars. In the home landscape, maples are a valuable source of shade and are relatively easy to grow.

Red maple samaras, colloquially known as helicopters. Samaras help maple seeds fly. Photo by Kimberley Ardelian.

Want to learn more about these trees? Visit our Maple Mania Open House in partnership with Friends of Metro Parks March 25th and 26th at Liberty Park Nature Center. Witness the maple sugaring process in action and taste the delectable results!

For more stories like this, check out Green Islands Magazine, a bi-monthly publication from Summit Metro Parks. Summit County residents can sign up to receive the publication at home free of charge.

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Summit Metro Parks

Summit Metro Parks manages 15,000 acres, 16 parks, three nature centers and more than 150 miles of trails. Find more at www.summitmetroparks.org.