Fall colours brighten area as leaves attain close to peak
The rolling hills and winding roads are picturesque, while brilliant yellows, reds, and oranges emerge on routes that signal that the leafy season is ahead.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio leaves peak in color between Monday October 12 and October 19.
Jamie Regula, forester at ODNR, said determining foliage in fall is not an exact science. Regula, this year’s fall color forester, worked with a team of 30 natural resource professionals across the state to track the color change process.
The colors start to change as the days get shorter, Regula said.
Calculating the peak time for fall foliage begins by using Smokey Mountain’s fall foliage prediction model. It uses precipitation forecasts and actual and forecast temperatures, Regula said. The model serves as the basis for determining the high season, she explained. The natural resource professionals then added a more detailed breakdown of what they see in their areas.
An update on fall colors is posted on the ODNR website every Wednesday.
Last week, Regula toured Tuscarawas County commenting on the bright colors along the highway. She recommended that people visit the state forest or park to see the leaves. If they can’t, she said, they can see a spectrum of colors just by walking around their neighborhood, she said.
“This has been a really challenging year for a lot of people and a lot of things we normally do have been canceled,” said Regula. “The best thing about fall colors is that we can do this safely and outdoors, which is always good for our sanity. I definitely encourage people to go outside as much as possible.”
Tiffany Gerber, chief executive of the Holmes County’s Trade and Visitors Bureau, said October was the busiest month of the year for the county.
In the area, many groups usually visit the area on tour buses. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many tour bus companies have canceled or postponed trips, Gerber said. Even if there are fewer buses in the area, hotels are still seeing roughly the same occupancy rates as in previous years.
The visitor bureau works with income from bed tax, which makes hotel occupancy the best way to gauge how tourism is performing in the area, Geber said.
In 2014 National Geographic named Holmes County one of the Top Ten Places to See Fall Foliage in its Four Seasons of Travel book. The book states that visitors can “ride under the branches of bright red and yellow, share the road with old-order Amish horse-drawn carriages, and stop at roadside farm stands along the way.”
Holmes County was ranked # 3 behind Sonoma County, California and northern New Mexico as the Most Beautifully Scenic Places in the World for Fall.
Many visitors also come to the district to visit shopping areas like downtown Berlin to start their Christmas shopping, Gerber said. Others want to do bulk purchases like frozen meat, condiments and baked goods for the upcoming holidays, she said.
Holmes County has a wide variety of activities to offer during COVID with the shopping district, outdoor scrolling destinations, and the Holmes County Trail, Gerber said.
“This year nature and our landscape will be valued much more than ever before,” she said. “If we can positively rate COVID, I believe there is a deeper appreciation for the beauty we have.”
Other goals for leaf viewing
- The Holmes County Trail offers 16 miles of trials from Fredericksburg to Killbuck
- The farm on Walnut Creek
- Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area
Mohican State Park borders Counties Holmes and Ashland and draws leaf moths into its wooded landscape every fall.
Miranda Burrell, administrator of the Mohican-Loudonville Convention and Visitors Bureau office, said the summer months are the busiest time of year for the area with a variety of outdoor adventure activities including canoeing, kayaking and swimming on the Mohican River. The area is still active in October as people come to see the beautiful fall colors, she said.
The Loudonville Chamber of Commerce hosts the self-guided fall foliage tour with recommended locations for top-notch leaf viewing. The chamber recommends that visitors join the tour before October 25 for the best color scheme, Burrell said. The tour is designed to inspire people to visit the area, she said.
A map created in 2019 gives visitors recommendations on where to eat, shop, and stay.
Burrell said her favorite places to see leaves are the Mohican Gorge Overlook, the Mohican State Park Fire Tower, and the Mohican Covered Bridge.
Other destinations for autumn leaf observation:
- Clearfork Gorge
- North Shelterhouse Mohican State Park
- Pleasant Hill Lake Park
- Malabar Farm State Park
- Memorial Shrine Forest Preserve
- Wolf Creek Flour Mill
Martha Starkey, executive director of the Wayne County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said fall is a great time for tourism.
Retirees and couples take advantage of the cooler weather and the less busy season when students are back in the classroom to shop, she said. Rural landscapes on the drive downtown and an abundance of hiking trails also attract visitors, she said.
Wooster Memorial Park is a great place to see leaves as it has an ADA-accessible 1-mile trail, Starkey said.
Starkey hopes the fall colors will entice people to come to the county and check out local shops and restaurants.
“It’s a very popular time and the weather is still good,” said Starkey. “… It is something you can do that is safe.”
Other goals for leaf observation:
- Secrest Arboretum
- Barnes Preserve
- Johnson Woods State Conservation Area
Contact Samantha at 330-287-1626
Email: [email protected]
On Twitter: @SamanthaKIckes