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Published: Monday, 10/11/2010

Toledo Magazine: Mother Nature's fall canvas

BY ANN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Look up. Look around. Look down. See it? You really can't miss it — autumn's kiss of red and gold and purple, yellow and orange and brown.

It must be early October.

Fall color traditionally moves north to south, peaking right about now in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ohiodnr.com) splits the state into three east-west bands for purposes of predicting the progression of color in trees, shrubs, and vines. From our northern tier, it moves into Ohio's waistline in mid-October, then into the southern third in late October.

“We're more or less on schedule,” said Casey Burdick, Ohio fall color forester, noting that the first hints of color that appeared in late September weren't true fall color but evidence of stress brought on by a lack of rain. Trees in urban and low-lying areas were especially affected by the dry weather, she said, and their leaves will be more likely to be stripped away by any strong winds or heavy rains.

“It may impact the diversity and longevity of color,” said Mrs. Burdick, who is based in Lebanon, Ohio.

“I think this year people are going to need to get out to state or local parks to really see the best color, because those trees are more protected and less stressed and will hold their leaves a little bit longer.”

Grab fall's gusto every chance you get. Drink it in on foot, on wheels, or on the water.

Metroparks of the Toledo Area runs a 12-passenger, open-air trolley along the banks of the Maumee River and down the canal towpath at Side Cut every Tuesday through October. It costs $2 per person, and reservations are required. On Oct. 23, Oak Openings will have two fall color trolley tours. The charge is $3; reservations are required for those as well.

The Metroparks also has a fall walking program called Autumn Adventures. The first 150 people to complete the eight-trail program will be rewarded with a free T-shirt. (You also can buy the T-shirt.)

Call the Metroparks at 419-407-9700 or visit the Web site (metroparkstoledo. com) for reservations and details.

More suggestions — including seasonal events and routes for scenic drives — are listed at ohiodnr.com and discoverohio.com, the Ohio Tourism Division's Web site.

At michigan.org, you can check for the best foliage locations throughout the season as well as travel deals near those regions. Click on other links to find suggested fall color tours.

And if you're a serious leaf-peeper, head for southeast Ohio in a week or two. That's one of the Top 10 places in North America to see fall foliage, according to shermanstravel.com, a publisher of travel deals and vacation destination advice. Southeast Ohio was rated No. 9. The site's No. 1 pick: Aspen, Col.

Contact Ann Weber at:

aweber@theblade.com or 419-724-6126



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