DNR predicts best fall color season in 10 years
Minnesotans are encouraged to keep the camera batteries charged and to not put the tent or the picnic basket away just yet, because the upcoming fall color season could be the best it has been in 10 years, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
"With adequate rain during the growing season for two consecutive years and recent weather patterns that have included the ideal combination of warm, sunny days and cool evenings, we're predicting an especially vivid display of color across the state in the weeks ahead," said Jana Albers, DNR forest health specialist.
Wondering when and where to schedule weekend getaways to catch the colors as they peak? Visit the DNR website for fall color reports provided by staff at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas from across the state. Starting this week, reports will include percent of color change, peak color projections, flowers and grasses in bloom, and three state parks considered "hot picks" of the week. The reports are updated by noon every Thursday.
Thanks to a mobile website developed by the DNR last year, fall color information also can be accessed from mobile phones. Android and iPhone (also iPod Touch and iPad) smart phones are both supported. People can also use any WebKit-based browser (Chrome or Safari) to view the website, which features real-time access to fall color reports and integration with Google maps. Colors typically peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of Minnesota, between late September and early October in the central third, and between late September and mid-October in the southern third (which includes the Twin Cities).
Many Minnesota state parks have planned programs and special events to coincide with peak color projections in their area. Examples include:
Saturday, Sept. 24, a Harvest Festival featuring guided lantern-lit hikes, music and a variety of children's activities from 6 to 8:30 p.m., at Itasca State Park in Park Rapids.
Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2, Leaf Days at Maplewood State Park in Pelican Rapids.
Saturday, Oct. 1, autumn ATV ride and picnic lunch on the Moose Walk/Moose Run ATV Trail near Tettegouche State Park on the north shore of Lake Superior.
For more information about these and many other free programs and special events, visit the online calendar or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
State park visitors are invited to upload their photos to the DNR's fall color website.
A vehicle permit is required for entrance to Minnesota state parks and recreation areas.