The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has activated its hotline to provide national forest visitors weekly updates on fall foliage color changes throughout the nation.
“Thousands of people take trips to see the spectacular show of colors as leaves change each autumn and many of those visits are to national forests," said Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth. "I am proud that our national forests are some of the best places to view the season’s colors and that the Forest Service can help visitors find the best spots to catch the show."
The toll-free fall color hotline can be accessed at (800) 354-4595. Callers will be greeted with an automated voice system and can hear weekly updates on peak color in different regions of the country. The same information is available at the Forest Service's Web site: http://www.fs.fed.us/fallcolors/2013/.
The Forest Service manages 133,087 miles of recreational trails and 136 scenic byways to guide visitors along scenic corridors to witness this natural phenomenon. Statistics show an estimated 350 million visits annually to national forests, grasslands and prairies.
The peak season for fall viewing in national forests begins in September and continues through early November. However, the timing and length of the fall color season is also affected by weather.
Forest Service officials indicate that drought conditions this year may cause color to peak a little early, specifically in the areas hit the hardest by drought. However, climate stress may also intensify colors.
The Forest Service hotline will be current through mid-November.