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Last updated: September 30. 2013 8:47AM - 4069 Views
By - fpace@civitasmedia.com



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It’s that time of year again!


Time to break out the light layers and trade sipping frosty lemonade on hot afternoons for savoring hot cocoa on chilly mornings – it’s fall. Best of all, it’s that time when Mother Nature dresses her very best.


If your fall spirit is kicking in and you’re anxious to take in some glorious autumn foliage before it’s gone, consider bringing along your favorite four-legged friend. He’ll enjoy seeing the sites, but most of all he’ll love getting some fresh air and exercise with his favorite human.


The entire state of West Virginia offers colorful drives and great events in every corner during the fall. There’s no shortage of beautiful color here.


The state is nearly 80 percent forested, so you’ll find plenty of Mother Nature’s handiwork in shades of red, orange, yellow, brown and green.


The color show begins in eastern West Virginia in late September and early October, while the middle and northern parts of the state show peak colors around mid-October. In southern West Virginia, the leaves begin changing colors in October as well, but peak during late October.


West Virginia Division of Forestry (DOF) officials are paying close attention to the changing leaves so they can provide the public with the most colorful routes to see fall foliage at its peak. State Foresters will compile reports weekly throughout October, and the information, including route numbers and specific points of interest, will be released to the public each Thursday afternoon.


“The fall foliage season is a wonderful opportunity to showcase West Virginia’s forests,” said State Forestry Director Randy Dye. “What better people to provide foliage updates than the folks who know our woods the best – our state foresters?”


Photos and updates, as available, will be posted to the DOF’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/wvforestry


Currently, foliage at the highest peaks in Greenbrier, Nicholas, Webster, Pocahontas and Randolph counties has the most color. Foresters report maple, birch, gum and ash trees in areas 3,000 feet and higher are the most colorful at present. Tucker County, always a favorite destination for leaf peepers, is reported to be 40 percent peak. U.S. Route 219 through Davis, Thomas and Canaan Valley is the recommended drive in that area. Spruce Knob Lake in Pendleton County is at 40 percent peak.


Why Leaves Change Colors? As the sun moves farther south the hours of daylight decrease and temperatures fall, causing leaves to stop producing chlorophyll, the chemical that colors them green. With the disappearance of chlorophyll, the underlying colors of the leaves are visible. The next strongest pigment becomes dominant, giving the leaves a “new” color.


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FALL FOLIAGE COLORATION GUIDE


Yellows


Ash, White - Yellow


Basswood - Yellow


Beech - Yellow


Birch, River - Dull Yellow


Birch, Sweet - Yellow


Buckeye, Ohio - Yellow


Coffeetree, Kentucky - Yellow


Cottonwood, Eastern - Yellow


Elder, Box - Yellow


Elm, American - Yellow


Hazel Nut - Brownish Yellow


Hickory, Mockernut - Dull Yellow


Hickory, Pignut - Dull Yellow


Hickory, Shagbark - Dull Yellow


Hickory, Shellbark - Dull Yellow


Hophornbeam, Eastern - Yellow


Locust, Black - Yellow


Locust, Honey - Yellow


Maple, Silver - Pale Yellow


Oak, Chestnut - Yellow


Pecan - Dull Yellow


Redbud, Eastern - Yellow


Shad Bush - Bright Clear Yellow


Tuliptree - Yellow


Walnut, Black - Yellow


Walnut, White - Bright Yellow


Willow, Black - Pale Yellow


Reds


Dogwood - Crimson


Gum, Black - Deep Red


Oak, Northern Red - Rusty Red


Oak, Pin - Crimson


Oak, Scarlet - Scarlet


Oak, Southern Red - Rusty Red


Oak, Swamp Chestnut - Dark Crimson


Sourwood - Deep Red


Sumac - Brilliant Red


Browns


Oak, Bur - Pale Brown


Oak, Post - Pale Brown


Oak, Shingle - Brown


Oak, Swamp White - Pale Brown


Multi-Colors


Hawthorn - Brilliant Varying Colors


Hazel Nut - Brownish Yellow


Hornbeam - Orange, Scarlet


Maple, Red - Red, Orange


Maple, Sugar - Yellow, Orange, Red


Oak, Black - Dull Red to Orange Brown


Oak, Blackjack - Dull Yellow or Brown


Oak, White - Pink or Red


Persimmon - Glossy Green with Yellow


Sassafras - Red, Orange, Yellow


Sweetgum - Yellow, Orange, Brown


Sycamore, American - Yellow, Brown


Witch Hazel - Bright Yellow-Orange


No Change: Magnolia, Umbrella - No Change and Holly, American - No Change.


Please call your park of destination before your visit to confirm the best possible showing time for fall color. Weekly updates on fall color are available by calling 1-800-CALL WVA during the autumn season.


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