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Colorful leaves are popping in Pennsylvania

Leaf-peeping is a growing trend in the state

  • Scott LaMar
Old barn in the fall

Old barn in the fall

Airdate: October 10th, 2023


The calendar says October and fall is in the air. That means leaves are or will be changing color soon.

Pennsylvania is one of the best states in the country for leaf peeping. Last week, ranked Route 6 in the norther tier of Pennsylvania as the third best place in the country for fall foliage.

This time of year is when many people travel throughout the back roads of Pennsylvania to find the most colorful spots.

Marquis Lupton/WITF

Ryan Reed, with the Bureau of Forestry, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on The Spark October 10, 2023.

On The Spark Tuesday, Ryan Reed, a natural resources specialist in the Bureau of Forestry at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said there were 177,000 visits to DCNR’s Pennsylvania Fall Foliage Reports webpage last week — a record. Ryan added that he has done 28 media interviews on leaf-peeping this fall compared to just seven a few years ago. Both figures show there is growing interest in viewing the colorful leaves throughout the state. Previously, DCNR has said that more people were enjoying the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and it appears that trend has continued.

Reed listed where the most vibrant leaves can be found right now,”You’ll find the best color right now in the northern tier across, say, Potter, Tioga, Susquehanna, Wayne Counties, and then extending southward across the central Appalachians up onto the Allegheny Plateau and even down into the Laurel Highlands in southern Pennsylvania, where the elevation really drives that color change.” Obviously that will change in the coming weeks.

Reed indicated that autumn leaf colors are more than pleasing to view,”The interest in the season gives us a chance to reflect on the state of the health of the forest. And so many regions throughout Pennsylvania, unfortunately, will suffer. Some onslaughts from certain invasive insects — think things like spongy moth formerly called gypsy moth, emerald ash borer. And so those threats can diminish our overall quality of color. But fortunately, our forests are by and large, very, very healthy and very well cared for, especially the public forests like those that we maintain in the Bureau of Forestry. So yeah, it’s an important thing to consider when leading into fall foliage season. How healthy have our our trees been and what have been the conditions leading up to the season? If you’d asked me in May what I thought about this year’s fall foliage season, I might not have given you a very good, good answer.” Reed said that’s because last May was so dry.

USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for top foliage destrination in the U.S. is Keystone State Park in Westmoreland County.

Scott LaMar/ WITF

Route 44 near Elimsport, Lycoming County, Pa.

Scott LaMar/WITF

Little Buffalo State Park, Perry County, Pa.

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