COLUMBUS, OH – Fall Color is still changing in the state this week, with maple and ash trees adding their traditional reds and golds to the landscape, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“It has been very nice weather for fall color. The recent onset of cool nights will help bring out the vibrancy of color,” said Casey Munchel, fall color specialist for the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Maples with their reds are really becoming noticeable – as are the bright yellows and golds of green ash.”
Munchel noted that color conditions north of Interstate 70 (across the state’s midsection) are generally changing and should see near peak color next weekend, while woodlands south of the interstate are still in the early stages of change. Areas where trees are more stressed (urban areas and areas along roadways) are showing more color. Overall, the color remains spotty, yet more vibrant than last year.
Ohio’s state parks, forests and nature preserves offer some of the best Fall Color viewing in the state, along with seasonal activities for the whole family. Seasonal events are scheduled for Mohican State Park in Ashland County, Marblehead Lighthouse State Park in Ottawa County, Malabar Farm State Park in Richland County, Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve in Greene County, Shawnee State Park in Scioto County, Paint Creek State Park in Ross County, Beaver Creek in Columbiana County, Mary Jane Thurston State Park in Henry and Wood counties, and Lake Hope State Park in Vinton County.
Travel to Geneva State Park in Ashtabula County for a weekend getaway to see northeast Ohio’s spectacular fall color. Stay in a luxurious lodge room, a comfortable cedar cabin, or camp in your own tent or camper. Then visit nearby nature preserves, scenic rivers and wildlife areas and have the opportunity to take beautiful pictures of the changing leaves while enjoying the great outdoors.
Take a drive up to Conneaut Creek State Wild and Scenic River and witness a diversity of wildlife. The stream corridor is home to 78 fish species and 32 species of amphibians and reptiles. The heavily wooded watershed harbors more than 30 unique plants and plant communities, many of which are listed as threatened or endangered. Conneaut Creek is an excellent location to try fly-fishing and catch steelhead trout, which typically average 25 inches long.
Travel to nearby Grand River State Wild and Scenic River after fishing and rent a kayak or canoe to paddle down this natural stream. Keep an eye out for river otters that populate this area. Fall color can be seen in the extensive swamp forests of elm, ash, maple, pine, pin oak and swamp white oak that border the Grand River.
After paddling, head to Headlands Beach State Park to do some relaxing beachcombing on this mile-long natural sand beach, the largest in the state. The Park also has many plant species typically found only along the Atlantic Coast. The federal breakwall at the east end of the park offers wonderful opportunities for fishing. Some common species at Headlands Beach are smallmouth, largemouth and rock bass, yellow perch, bluegill, walleye, coho salmon and carp.
Also at the east end of the park is Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve. This preserve is one of the last of the Lake Erie beach and dune communities in the state. Many plant species not found in northeast Ohio grow here, including sand-dropseed, Canada wild-rye, wafer-ash and wild bean. It is a great place to observe migrating birds and monarch butterflies.
To view wildlife, travel to the Grand River Wildlife Area. It is one of the largest semi-wilderness areas in northeast Ohio containing twelve ponds, numerous beaver impoundments, and fifteen man-made marshes. Beaver, pheasants, woodcock, ruffed grouse, turkey, deer, squirrels and rabbits are abundant here and the number of river otters has increased dramatically. October 11 marks the beginning of wild turkey, ruffed grouse and woodcock seasons. All can be hunted at Grand River Wildlife Area.
Not far from this wildlife area is Mosquito Creek Lake Wildlife Area, which offers the chance to view unusual and rare birds such as bald and golden eagles, white pelicans, glossy ibises, king rails, ospreys, goshawks, long-eared owls and African cattle egrets. Controlled waterfowl hunting and deer hunting are provided on the area by permit. Mosquito Creek Reservoir has a diverse game fish population for outstanding fishing opportunities. Largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, bluegills, bullheads, crappies, channel catfish, and white bass can be caught with walleye, bass and crappies being the predominant species.
Just east of Mosquito Creek Lake Wildlife Area is Shenango Wildlife Area. This area is great for hunting waterfowl, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, grouse, deer, woodcock and pheasant. Trapping for muskrat and other furbearers, particularly beaver and raccoon, are also very popular. Pymatuning Creek offers fishing for white crappies, bullhead, carp, suckers, sunfish and largemouth bass.
For those who enjoy the rugged outdoors, visit Sheepskin Hollow State Nature Preserve. This preserve has no trails, but has a narrow sandstone gorge with waterfalls as well as large beech, maple, oak and hemlock trees that are great for fall color viewing.
To help Ohioans and out-of-state visitors make the most of this popular outdoor season, weekly updates are available from the best Fall Color viewing locations across the state by calling 1-800-BUCKEYE. Users can also find Fall Color information on the Internet at ohiodnr.com and at www.discoverohio.com/autumnadventures.
Here are the most current reports from selected locations:
Alum Creek State Park (Delaware County) Changing
Mount Gilead State Park (Morrow County) Changing
Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve (Licking County) Changing
Deer Creek State Park (Pickaway County) Near Peak
Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Cuyahoga, Summit counties) Changing
Punderson State Park (Geauga County) Changing
Mohican State Park and State Forest (Ashland County) Changing
Malabar Farm State Park (Richland County) Changing
Kent Bog State Nature Preserve (Portage County) Changing
Triangle Lake Bog State Nature Preserve (Portage County) Changing
Quail Hollow State Park (Stark County) Changing
Guilford Lake State Park (Columbiana County) Changing
Salt Fork State Park (Guernsey County) Near Peak
Blue Rock State Park and State Forest (Muskingum County) Changing
Beaver Creek State Park (Columbiana County) Changing
Dillon State Park (Muskingum County) Near Peak
Lake Hope State Park (Vinton County) Near Peak
Hocking Hills State Park and State Forest (Hocking County) Changing
Burr Oak State Park (Morgan County) Near Peak
Tar HollowState Park (Ross County) Changing
Lake Alma State Park (Vinton, Jackson counties) Changing
Zaleski State Forest (Vinton County) Changing