ADIRONDACKS & CATSKILLS — Welcome to the season of thinking up creative synonyms for red, yellow and orange when they’re painted across a mountainside — fall foliage season in upstate New York.
The state’s I Love New York tourism promotion program on Wednesday released its first weekly foliage report of the year, reporting that color change is starting in parts of the Adirondacks and Catskills.
Fall visitation to New York is a $27.2 billion annual business, according to I Love New York. And even though that total includes New York City tourists, state officials believe foliage viewing gets people out of their houses and onto upstate roads.
“Fall is an incredibly popular travel time of year, and we know foliage is among the top reasons,” said Eric Scheffel, a spokesman for Empire State Development’s I Love New York foliage program. “There are farm stands, festivals, all sorts of things, but foliage is a good driver to get people out on the roads.”
The state has been releasing a weekly fall foliage report for at least 30 years, with Scheffel overseeing the process for 23 of those. He’s predicting a good season, with color already coming on.
“The Adirondacks are seeing early progress, and in the Catskills, Delaware and Sullivan counties have seen the most progress, Scheffel said.
Based on the observations of about 75 foliage spotters statewide, in the Adirondacks, the Old Forge area is at about 30 percent color change, with red, orange, yellow and burgundy leaves appearing. The area around Tupper Lake east through Saranac Lake is at about 20-25 percent change, while the change is as great as 40…
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