Review of Virginia Department of Forestry website

Photo:  Barbara J. Saffir (c)

By Janet Quinn

Want to see beautiful fall-tinged leaves without the crowds? Read on!

While on a wandering web surf, I chanced upon the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) website. The dramatic photo headlining the “Wildfire Situation Report” link caught my eye, and I was hooked.

Under the Current News and Events tab is a Most Requested Information and Services tab. It provides links to contact my local forester, shop for seedlings, or learn about being a wildland firefighter. My favorite, however, is the amazing link to Fall Foliage in Virgina.

Having just spent a weekend near Shenandoah National Park where I saw more rain than colorful leaves, I was eager to learn where and when I might find fall hues. The October 6th Weekly Fall Foliage report had my answers. Well written and informative, its poetic language spoke of “nature’s big wardrobe change,” discussed the impact of weather on leaf color and which trees will change first. It even provided a review of colorful wildflowers to see. The next section is a chart of Virginia Trees and Colors, which appealed to the naturalist in me, and then, best of all, a guide to the first ever VDOF Fall Foliage Driving Tours. The described routes are “off the beaten path,” avoid traffic, and still provide beautiful views of autumn’s trees.

The foliage section of the website provides even more, including up-to-the-minute phone hotlines, places to visit, and a scientific description of why leaves change color.

This gem of a website deserves to be discovered. Give it a try!

Janet is a graduate of the Fall 2015 Fairfax Master Naturalist cohort.

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