EXPLORE: In Search of Fall Foliage

By Beacon Staff

Autumn and its gallery of colors can be unpredictable.

Sometimes the season can pass by with little spectacle. But this year favorable weather has led to a vibrant display of fall foliage across Northwest Montana.

Many of the area’s forests are near peak form, meaning most of the trees are fully colored in reds, oranges and yellows, according to The Weather Channel, which tracks fall foliage across the nation.

The U.S. Forest Service has a new website devoted to autumn’s brilliant colors. The site features multimedia and information about the season as well as resources for parents and teachers involving outdoor activities for kids.

Viewing the gallery of colors can be an easy activity to take for granted, though it’s an unpredictable event and the science behind it is anything but simple. Throughout the year, chlorophyll, a chemical in plants and trees, absorbs light and provides energy.

The seasonal transformation begins after temperatures drop and daylight hours shrink. Rainy, overcast days typically increase the intensity of colors.

To view the Forest Service’s Fall Colors website, visit www.fs.fed.us/fallcolors/2012/index.shtml.

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