Peak Foliage in Pennsylvania | www.wnep.com

We are approaching peak foliage in many parts of the region this week, which attracts thousands of tourists from all over every year.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA – At an elevation of over 2,000 feet, Pine Hill Vista is one of the highest points you can reach in the southern part of Lackawanna County. Located in the Pinchot State Forest, you can see as far north as Elk Mountain and as far south past Interstate 80 on a clear day.

That’s why Chris Cannata of Pen Argyl and his family make it a point to visit at least once every autumn.

“It’s the best time of the year ahead. You see the greatest amount of color. It’s been ten years since we started coming here. Now is the time to start bringing the next generation, which is our girl, which is even cooler,” Cannata said.

It’s also one of Austin Noguera’s favorite spots. But for him, it’s work. Noguera is a service forester for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), covering five counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. He helps the DCNR with its weekly foliage reports and is responsible for reporting on what is happening in the five counties he covers.

“I keep an eye out for species that change. So some of your species that change early include maple, birch, cherry. Some of the species that change later are your oak and beech. Once I start seeing the oak and beech, I know it’s around rush hour, and it’s getting ready for full color,” Noguera said.

According to the DCNR, Pennsylvania has one of the longest and most varied foliage seasons of any place in the world.

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“Some places haven’t even started to change yet, especially in the southeast. We’re unique and lucky to have a fall season with the amount of hardwood trees we have. There’s no only a few places in the world that have a season of vibrant colors like this,” Noguera said.

That’s why the DCNR has a forester in each of the state’s 20 districts who travels every day at this time of year. From there, the DCNR publishes its weekly map, showing how close each county is in foliage season, so you never miss seeing the best color.

“I mean, you watch and you get the full color spectrum. It’s the best thing every year for us,” Cannata said.

And as we approach the peak this week in this part of Lackawanna County, you could road trip across the state until the end of the month or even beyond, thanks to Pennsylvania’s long and varied foliage season.

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Carol N. Valencia