Technically the calendar says it is still summer, but there is already a “feel” of autumn in the air.
The first day of fall for this year is Wednesday, September 23.
The nights have been cooler and soon our beautiful mountains will be scattered with a mixture of reds, golds, yellows and browns.
The fall season is one of our most beautiful times of the year and shows nature at its best. The scenic beauty of our Appalachian Mountains is breathtaking.
The peak time for the fall foliage for our region is not until late October according to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). They have released a map showing when and where the colors will be at their best.
On the DNR web-page, they have a list of trees and describe what color their leaves will turn. For example, birch trees turn yellow, while the leaves of an oak turn crimson or scarlet, while other oaks turn brown, silver maples turn a pale yellow, but some maples turn reddish-orange.
Many of the state’s parks are good venues to take a hike and enjoy the beautiful colors and to take photos of the fall foliage. In our region we have Chief Logan State Park in Logan County, Laurel Lake in Mingo County, Cabwalingo in Wayne County, Twin Falls in Wyoming County and Panther Wildlife Management Area in McDowell County.
There are many other facilities throughout the state. The West Virginia State Park system is composed of 34 state parks, eight state forests, five wildlife management areas, the Greenbrier River Trail, and the North Bend Rail Trail.
This is a good way to spend quality time with family members and to teach the younger generation about the changing seasons and about the abundance of trees and wildlife that is native to West Virginia.
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.
Weekly updates on fall color are available by calling 1-800-CALL WVA during the season or check out their web site at www.wvstateparks.com.
(Some information for this article came from the WVDNR web page )
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)