The leaves are beginning to change color here and there around the state, and staff members throughout the Minnesota state parks system are keeping you in the know when it comes to all things fall.
Starting last week, Minnesota parks staff began posting fall color reports online, and will continue to update the website by noon every Thursday.
As in past years, these reports will include percent of color change, peak color projections, flowers and grasses in bloom, and three parks considered "hot picks" of the week.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also offers fall colors "to go" on a mobile website compatible with smart phones and tablets. The mobile fall color reports include percent of color change, integrated with Google maps.
"The fall colors are arriving right on schedule in northern Minnesota, and they're making their way south," said Jana Albers, forest health specialist for the DNR's Forestry Division. "We had a decent amount of rain in August across much of the state, and if the sunshine and cool nights continue in September, that's the ideal recipe for fall color. There are already splashes of color wherever you go, and it's only going to get better in the weeks to come."
When Do Fall Colors Peak?
- Colors typically peak in the northern third of Minnesota is between mid-September and early October.
- In the central third of the state colors typically peak between late September and early October.
- Color typically peaks here in the lower third of the state between late September and mid-October.
Afton State Park’s leaf color is between zero and 10 percent changed, flower color is past peak and grass color is between 50-75 percent to peak.
According to the Minnesota DNR:
“The drive into the park along the tall grass prairie areas has the best color with the Big bluestem and Indian grass a golden brown. The views of the river valley are starting to show some color change.
With any wind you can see the tall grasses blowing like waves of brown. Some ash, cottonwood and boxelder are changing to yellow, and loosing their leaves. Some scattered maples are just starting to turn color.
A flock of 30+ turkey vultures was gathered on the beach, and more flocks of waterfowl are using the area.”
Leaf and grass colors at Fort Snelling State Park are zero to 10 percent changed, and flowers are past their peak.
From the beach at Snelling Lake you get a good vista of inland trees (Ash, Basswood, Cottonwood) and the river banks of Pike Island have views of Maples, Boxelders, White Oaks, Green and Black Ash.
Currently the yellows of Goldenrod, Sunflowers, Golden Glow, and Grey Coneflowers, light up the woodland edges, while a few lingering Purple Coneflowers and the Waterlillies on the lakes are finishing their bloom cycle.
For nature lovers the Whitetail Deer do as much people watching as vice versa. Turkeys, although seen frequently, are aware of the season and are grouping. Egrets and Herons are frequently seen fishing in the backwater channels, and River Otters can be seen playing along the river and lake shorelines.
This post will be updated with photos, events, and updated fall color reports, so check back for updated information.
Have fall colors photos you'd like to submit to Eagan Patch? Add them to this article or email Editor David Henke at email@example.com.