September 11, 2019 — Today marks the official start of reporting fall foliage conditions in Maine. Maine’s leaf-bearing trees will show off their brilliant colors of yellow, orange and red in the upcoming weeks. The 2019 Fall Foliage Report from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry reports spotty color change in the forest. Northern Maine is reporting less than five percent color change with very low, less than five percent, leaf drop.
“Forest rangers at the Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry have been reporting their observations throughout the state since 1959. Back then, the rangers would radio in their on-the-ground observations to the department headquarters, which in turn would be filtered out to local radio stations. We’ve come a long way since then and have gone global with our reporting,” according to Gale Ross, Maine’s fall foliage spokesperson.
Typically, northern Maine (zones 6 and 7) reaches peak conditions the last week of September into the first week of October. The rest of the state’s progression of color will start occurring from north to south in mid-October. Coastal Maine typically reaches peak conditions mid-to-late October.
Aaron Bergdahl, forest pathologist within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, stated, “While in some parts of Maine people may notice color change developing a bit earlier than usual due to droughty summer conditions, peak color should develop normally from north to south with a full palette of vibrant colors reflecting our diverse and overall healthy forests. All things considered, I believe 2019 will be an exceptional fall foliage season.”
Get in the spirit of Maine’s fast-approaching fall season by taking part in one of the many Great Maine Outdoor Weekend activities, with a week-long schedule of free or low-cost outdoor events throughout the state, kicking off this Friday. Head north to Millinocket to enjoy three days of live music, a variety of fall outdoor activities and a pub crawl at the annual Trails End Festival to celebrate the expansive network of trails throughout the Maine Highlands region and the Appalachian Trail’s hikers as they near the end of their trek at the summit of Katahdin. Those sad to see summer go should head to Old Orchard Beach for more time in the sun at the 26th Annual Car Show, Sept. 13-14.
For the best chance of spotting the first signs of the changing foliage, begin your tour in Aroostook County. Explore the Fish River Scenic Byway (Route 11) from Portage to Fort Kent for picturesque views of meadows, Eagle Lake and Maine’s highest peak. This forested route provides beautiful foliage views and the chance to see a variety of wildlife, including moose, eagles, landlocked salmon and brook trout. For active peepers looking to experience the foliage in a unique way, explore St. John Valley from the seat of a bike with a ride that features historical landmarks and river views.
Autumn enthusiasts can visit the state’s official foliage website at www.mainefoliage.com to sign up to receive weekly reports by email, and can share their photos from the different regions of the state as the progression of color begins. Our Facebook page will include statewide events taking place throughout the season, and our Instagram account (@mainefoliage) will feature colorful fall shots. For more information about fall activities and events in Maine, go to www.visitmaine.com.
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