Last updated: October 17, 2012
Autumn is my favorite season, and I’m already cheered to see some signs that fall is on its way. While hiking this summer I’ve been making mental notes of prospective sites for taking in the fall color. However you don’t have to go to all that trouble; you don’t even need to go hiking. I’d like to bring to your attention the fall color guide published by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR): http://fallcolor.ohiodnr.com.
Among the information published here is the ODNR’s Fall Color Report (from the main page of the fall color guide, click on “Autumn Adventures”). If you go to this page the ODNR presents a map of Ohio that’s a bit like a weather map. But instead of showing weather conditions, it shows regional areas of fall color. It does so by displaying little leaves over the state. The color of the leaves on the map show whether the fall colors are just starting in a particular region, whether the color is peaking, or whether the color is starting to fade. The map shows both green and yellow leaves now; the yellow leaves mean that those areas are just starting to show some fall color. The yellow leaves are currently scattered across the map. Since fall colors usually appear in northern Ohio first and work their way south, you can maximize your fall color enjoyment by scheduling weekend drives from north to south during the month of October.
As of October 17, 2012 the Fall Color map reported that Mt. Gilead and Harrison Lake State Parks were past peak color, and Indian Lake is just starting to show fall colors. Everywhere else in the state is reported to be at its peak color for this coming weekend. I wonder why Indian Lake is lagging behind every place else?
Speaking of weekend drives, the ODNR’s fall color guide even provides suggested driving routes. In addition each year the ODNR publishes a weekly video following the spread of the fall color southward through the state, so you’ll know what to expect on a fall color drive. In the first video for 2012, the ODNR spokesperson, Casey Burdick, explains that signs of an early autumn (like my red leaf above) are actually misleading. This mid-September color is actually due to stress brought on by this year’s unusually hot, dry summer. Surprisingly the ODNR expects the real appearance of fall color to be later than usual (3 days to one week later). But you can find out more by watching ODNR’s first video for 2012.
Below is the fifth ODNR video which was uploaded on October 17th, 2012.