Friday July 19th, 2024 10:42AM

Georgia State Parks ready for fall leaf lookers despite Irma impact

By B.J. Williams

While Tropical Storm Irma might have beaten up a bit on Georgia's State Parks, officials say they are still ready for the annual onslaught of fall leaf lookers. 

Kim Hatcher, spokeswoman for Georgia State Parks, said the agency's annual Leaf Watch page on the website was up and running well before the first official day of fall on Sept. 22. She said even with Irma making a mess in most parks, her agency still anticipates plenty of fall color this year. 

"Some of the leaves got blown down by the strong winds even up in the mountains, but you know, it also turned pretty cold there for a couple of days and that little cold snap started some of the trees [turning]," Hatcher said. "I know that I've seen dogwoods already starting to turn red."

Hatcher said after the cold snap, the hot temperatures returned, though, and that's not the type of weather that makes for vivid color.

"What we need for peak color is for the days to be warm and sunny and the nights to be really cool, crisp, but not freezing. I'm kind of hoping we cool down just a little bit before October," Hatcher said.

Hatcher said while state workers have done their best to clear downed trees and debris off of state park trails, a good bit of clean-up work remains to be done. She said the public can actually lend a hand with some of that work on Saturday, Sept. 30 during "Your State Parks Day."

"All of Georgia's state parks and historic sites have service projects [on that day] and I think this year most of them are going to focus on cleaning up from Hurricane Irma," Hatcher said. "We've got a lot of trail clean-up to do."

She said there will be other volunteer opportunities over above clean-up. 

Parking fees will be waived at the parks for volunteers on Sept. 30. 

Hatcher said leaf-peepers can once again get information on the top leaf-looking spots in Georgia via the Leaf Watch page on the State Parks website. The page also contains information on available campsites and fall events in the state parks, as well as safety tips for hiking. She said a new element to the page this year is a request for Georgians to use the hash tags #GALeafWatch and #GAState Parks so that leaf-peepers can help each other find the best fall color across the state. 

Kim Hatcher was a recent guest on WDUN's Afternoon News Wrap.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Irma, Georgia State Parks, fall leaf looking, Kim Hatcher
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