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DNR Updates Maryland Foliage Report

October 6th, 2019 by WCBC Radio


Fall Foliage and Festivals

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Oct. 5 and 6, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

True fall weather is on the way! Garrett County is anticipating nighttime temperatures dipping into the 3os this weekend, reports Melissa Nash, forester and project manager. With the change in temperature comes the beginning of peak season in parts of Maryland.

“Cool nights and sunny days typically bring out the best color,“ Nash explains. “Some areas of Garrett County, especially around Meadow Mountain (near the Eastern Continental Divide), are expected to peak within the next couple of days.” She reports vibrant yellows to oranges and reds on maple, and yellow color on birch and hickory as most notable. Oaks should begin to change soon with white oak producing deep reds to purplish tones and red oaks golden brown.

Monroe Overlook, photo by Melissa Nash

The Monroe Run overlook along New Germany Road within the Savage River Watershed. Photo by Melissa Nash

The best place to see the best color is along Route 495 and New Germany Roads. The Monroe Run scenic overlook in Savage River State Forest along New Germany Road is a great place to stop and enjoy the view. Other areas of the county are a little further behind, but should peak in the next week to week and a half — just in time for the Autumn Glory Festival held Oct.9-13 at various locations throughout Garrett County. 

A few trees around the shoreline of Deep Creek Lake are in full color. “An early morning paddle, especially in the minimum wake coves, offers a mirror like reflection on the calm water. While the shoreline color is not as far along as the mountaintops this week, the ripples from a canoe or kayak paddle offer a value-added visual effect,” says Ranger Roy Musselwhite, manager of Deep Creek Lake State Park.

Potomac Garrett State Forest, photo by Scott Campbell

Potomac Garrett State Forest, photo by Scott Campbell

Forester Scott Campbell was pleased that after some much needed rain on Potomac-Garrett State Forest, the colors began to appear. “Most notable were the maples, birch and sassafras.”

This weekend would be a great time to drive “The Loop,” a tried-and-true leaf peeper tour. Head west from Cumberland along Route 40 out to Keysers Ridge, then south along 219 through McHenry and Thayerville in the vicinity of Deep Creek Lake State Park. Given time, add side trips to either Herrington Manor or Swallow Falls state parks.

From Oakland, turn east along Route 135 and plan an afternoon in Savage River State Forest. Particular points of interest in this area are Big Run State Park or further north, the Monroe Run Vista off of New Germany Road near New Germany State Park. These spots are guaranteed to delight foliage fanatics the next few weeks.

Along Rte 144 in Allegany County, photo by Dan Hedderick

Along Route 144 in Allegany County, photo by Dan Hedderick

After crossing back into Allegany County, turn north on 220 near McCoole, wind through Dans Mountain Wildlife Management Area, and head back toward Cumberland. Or turn off onto a quiet country road and surprise yourself with more breathtaking, unspoiled panoramas.

“After a few weeks of very hot and dry conditions the changing colors around Rocky Gap had begun to appear dull,” says Rocky Gap State Park Ranger Melissa Musselwhite. “However, due to cooler temperatures and rain early this week, we are quite hopeful that the leaves will really pop by the weekend. The forecast is looking like perfect fall conditions to camp, hike and paddle around Lake Habeeb.”

Sideling Hill, photo by Aaron Cook

Sideling Hill, photo by Aaron Cook

Aaron Cook, forester based in Clear Spring, tells us that western Washington County is starting to look like autumn with hickory yellowing in places or just turning brown. “Sugar maple also is really starting to change. While the warm spell slowed the change, the cooler temperatures that follow should get things going again.”

Ranger Mark Spurrier, manager at Cunningham Falls and Gambrill state parks, reports slight color changes with leaves browning quickly in Frederick County and Ranger Mary Ironside, park manager for the South Mountain Recreation Area, notes only some small patches of leaf change.

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