The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service has activated its toll-free hotline to provide national forest visitors weekly updates on fall foliage color changes throughout the country.
"One of the wonders of fall is when trees explode into an array of colors and the national forests are some of the best places to see this phenomenon," said Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth. "The Forest Service is pleased to once again provide its hotline as a valuable service to the thousands of people who visit our nation's forests each autumn to see this marvel of nature."
The toll-free fall color hotline can be accessed at (800) 354-4595. Callers are greeted with an automated voice system and can hear weekly updates on peak color in different regions of the country. Last year more than 30,000 people called the hotline. Fall foliage information is also available at the Forest Service's Website: http://www.fs.fed.us/fallcolors/2013/index.shtml.
The peak season for fall viewing in national forests begins in September and continues through early November. However, the specific timing and length of the fall color season is affected by autumnal weather patterns that are often difficult to forecast.
Forest Service officials indicate that summer weather conditions experienced this year (high rainfall levels in the east) are not expected to influence the timing and intensity of leaf color. The timing and frequency of fall frosts will be of particular importance this year. In addition to climate, localized stress factors can also influence leaf color change, adding to the variability in color display and uncertainty in predicting the mosaic of colors characteristic of our scenic forests.
The hotline will be active through mid-November.