By Wayne Allen
A few signs that autumn is around the corner include days getting shorter, colder temperatures and leaves turning colors. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is anticipating a late October peak for fall color in southern Ohio.
ODNR Fall Color Forester Casey Burdick expects the fall colors to run a little late this year due to the rains this spring and early summer. She is forecasting peak color in northern Ohio to be seen in mid-October. Central Ohio leaf color should peak at the end of the third full week in October, and southern Ohio should peak in late October.
“We are beginning to see the transformation of fall color across the state,” Burdick said. “Black walnuts are starting to turn yellow while dogwoods are showing their dark reds and deep purples, and catalpas are turning bright lime green.”
ODNR has established a website fallcolor.ohiodnr.gov, to guide those interested in the evolution of color throughout the state.
Through the fall color website, ODNR will provide weekly color updates and information. The site will also provide links to activities designed to highlight fall color.
“The fall fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Ohio State Parks offer a number of Halloween campouts, haunted trails and other great Halloween activities that allow families to create lasting memories,” Burdick said.
Upcoming activities at Shawnee State Park include a fall hike to Raven Rock on Saturday Oct. 17. Those interested in the hike should gather from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the nature center to visit with park staff and learn about geology of the area. At 1 p.m. Friends of Shawnee State Park will provide beans and cornbread. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. there will be hay-rides in the campground; with the last ride leaving at 3 p.m.
At 2 p.m. the hike to Raven Rock will occur, where fall colors can be viewed from 500 feet above the Ohio River.
On Oct. 24 the park will host an Unhaunted Forest Trail. Activities will last from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the nature center. Participants will go on a lantern lit guided tour of the forest, while on the trail the group will meet creatures of the night.
For more information about Shawnee State Park call 740-858-6652 or visit them on Facebook.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT