In Living Colors: Local Fall Foliage Season Hasn’t Peaked Yet | News, Sports, Jobs

A maple with beautiful fall colors.

Residents and visitors enjoy the colors that adorn the hills and line the rural roads each fall in Warren County.

This year’s fall foliage show should be good – if heavy rains and high winds don’t knock the leaves down.

Foliage season will peak in two or three weeks.

“We’re just getting started” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Cornplanter District Forestry Office, said Cecile Stelter. “There’s a bit of color that we’re starting to see in some maples and some sumacs along the road.”

“I think we’re on track for our normal fall foliage season as far as timing goes,” Stelter said. “People are really going to see some color by October 15th and that color is going to carry over into Halloween.”

At the start of the season, the maples and aspens will turn. Towards the end, it will be oaks and beeches, she says.

The brightness or lack thereof in a season depends on the weather conditions throughout the summer and early fall.

“Temperature and humidity are the two main influences”, Stelter said. “I think we’re sitting in a pretty good place to have some really nice fall foliage.”

“We haven’t had a drought this summer, so the leaves are not stressed,” she says. “We had a little rain.”

Heavy rains and high winds cause more leaves to fall from trees sooner.

“If we can have warm, sunny days with cool, but not freezing nights, that will bring the best color,” Stelter said.

Whether particularly spectacular or not, the usual spectacle of reds and golds, purples, oranges and browns will be presented.

“The reason why trees change color – it’s the trees’ response to shorter days and less intense sunlight,” she says. “People are starting to recognize it themselves. It gets darker earlier. The sun is not as bright. The trees respond by producing less chlorophyll – the green pigment. With less green, the other colors are visible.

“We will always have fall colors. Here in Pennsylvania we have about 120 different species of native trees,” she says. “I think that’s what makes Pennsylvania such a great state to get out and admire the fall foliage. We’re always going to have a mix just because of our native species.

Some places I would recommend in our area – on the ANF the Longhouse National Scenic Byway is appropriately named because it is scenic,” she says. “Kinzua Bridge State Park has a beautiful view. For driving, I would encourage people to take some of the back roads, and Route 6, Route 62, and Triple Six (Route 666) are some of my favorite places to view the leaves.

Sunny days are the best. As Stelter used to say the old adage, “rainy days wash away the color of the leaves” is not accurate, sunlight is ideal for seeing color intensity.

“It’s the perfect time to be in Penn’s Woods,” Stelter said. “I encourage people to – whether on their favorite street or on their favorite hiking trail – get out there and enjoy.”


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Carol N. Valencia