The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 4, 2012

Authority may tap sweet source for extra $$$

JOHNSTOWN — The Cambria Somerset Authority may have found another way to tap into its Quemahoning Dam resources.

An area man wants to harvest sap for syrup from Que maple trees. And he has sweetened his request with an offer that could pay out $100,000 or more over the life of the deal.

CSA members are exploring the idea before going forward, saying they want to make sure they wouldn’t be giving up trees with more value in timbering than they’d be collecting in return.

Michael Rosey of Hooversville wants to put 10,000 to 15,000 taps on the property for sap collection.

He said it’s one of several properties he’d like to harvest for a sugar camp he is planning.

“I’ve been making (maple syrup) for a while now on a smaller scale, but never anything quite this large,” Rosey said. He is anxious to start, perhaps this spring.

CSA forester Michael Barton said the area, north of the dam, was slated for timbering next year. But there are pluses to Rosey’s idea, he added.

The authority would be able to keep the area wooded instead of having trees cut, and those trees would continue to thrive after sap collecting ends.

He said the tree is punctured for tapping, but heals afterward. The wound, however, often attracts a fungus that lowers the tree’s timbering value, he said.

“But this can still be lucrative,” Barton said. “If the board decides to harvest the trees later ... many could be marketed at a lower price.”

A maple producer’s website shows a single tree can have one to three taps, depending on its size, meaning thousands of trees would be tapped.

Rosey is asking for a 10-year lease agreement. He has offered to pay 50 cents per tap the first year and increase the sum by a dime every other year during the life of the contract.

If he put 12,500 taps on the land, it would mean $6,250 in revenue to the CSA the first year and grow to $12,500 the final year.

During the life of the contract, it would provide $93,750, based on the same number of taps – and approximately $18,750 more if 15,000 taps are placed.

CSA officials said they would review the offer and will talk with Rosey to see what trees he has in mind, noting some trees have more values than others.

“Let’s just make sure we know what we’re getting into,” CSA Chairman Jim Greco said.

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