Going Green | Kentucky state parks display fall colors

Published 5:58 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Few things make me happier than a crisp fall day filled with the oranges, yellows and reds of changing leaves.

I consider myself very lucky to live in the Bluegrass, where autumn turns our forests into lovely, idyllic landscapes. Not everywhere has such beautiful seasons.

One of my favorite fall activities is visiting the various Kentucky state parks. These parks are free to visit and provide some of the best natural areas in the state to explore. They offer many hiking trails that allow guests to enjoy the season by foot. You can also take scenic road trips through areas like the Daniel Boone National Forest.

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With fall foliage, timing can be everything. What may be a beautifully hued forest one week could easily be gray and ready for winter the next. The colors can come just as quickly as they can go. Just because it looks green now doesn’t mean the vibrant orange, red and yellow are a long way off.

There’s now an online tool to help you locate where autumn colors are at their peak in real time, so you can head straight for the best spots. The ColorFall website, located at http://bit.ly/2dPGc0x, provides “a state map divided into regions and blog posts which provide reports on stages of leaf changes from Kentucky State Park staff and naturalists and other volunteers throughout the state,” according to a news article I read.

The ColorFall project has been around for 31 years, but this was the first year I had heard about it. I’m very excited to use it for a few road trips this autumn before the color fades. The website runs through Nov. 11.

While you’re out enjoying the beauty of fall, hopefully you can patronize a state park or two. Our state parks are maintained in part because we spend our money there. I also think the parks benefit just from people visiting them. As long as people are taking advantage of the parks, we’ll get to keep them around.

Green space is becoming more and more precious in our world today, as concrete and civilization spreads. Kentucky still has a ton of green space, which I think is one of our greatest resources. There’s nothing quite as beautiful as a drive through the hills and mountains of Kentucky, and I hope you’ll join me in appreciating that and helping make sure it stays beautiful for generations to come.