Online leaf tracking starts on Oct. 1

Thu, 09/06/2007 - 9:56am
By: The Citizen

ATLANTA, GA (Sept. 4, 2007) – It won’t be long before Georgia’s forests turn into a brilliant blanket of red, orange and gold, drawing “leaf peepers” to pull out their cameras and put on their hiking boots.

To help track the changing leaves and plan autumn escapes, Georgia’s State Parks will launch Leaf Watch 2007 beginning Oct. 1 at

Whether traveling to the Appalachians for hiking and biking, or heading south for canoeing and camping, Leaf Watch 2007 will offer advice on where and when to find the best color at Georgia’s state parks.

Visitors can read regular updates provided by park rangers, get safety tips for hiking and camping, and learn why leaves change color.

Leaf Watch 2007 also provides links that allow browsers to reserve campsites, cottages and lodge rooms offered at Georgia’s state parks. The link also includes a Web cam showcasing the rolling mountainside of Black Rock Mountain State Park.

Typically, northern Georgia peaks in late October; however, color can be seen as early as September and as late as mid-November. Some parks in southern Georgia put on a pretty display during late autumn, particularly those with cypress trees and tea-colored swamps.

“The mountains are where most people go to see the changing leaves,” said State Park Director Becky Kelley, “but people shouldn’t overlook middle and south Georgia. The cypress and tupelo swamps found at Georgia Veterans, George L. Smith and Stephen C. Foster state parks can turn brilliant orange toward the end of the season.”

Of Georgia’s 48 state parks, six of the most popular for leaf watching include Amicalola Falls, Black Rock Mountain, Cloudland Canyon, Tallulah Gorge, Unicoi and Vogel.

For quieter getaways, visitors may want to explore lesser-known parks, which can be just as vibrant. Providence Canyon State Park, frequently called “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon,” has hiking trails and unusual scenery. Watson Mill Bridge State Park, near Athens, boasts a scenic picnic area beside the state’s longest covered bridge. Beautiful hardwoods, boulders and creeks can be found on the 23-mile Pine Mountain Trail at F.D. Roosevelt State Park near Columbus.

Park officials advise visitors to make overnight reservations as soon as possible. It is not uncommon for mountain cottages to be reserved well in-advance, and many campgrounds fill up early on pretty weekends. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-864-7275 or by going online at

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