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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 20, 2014

Assorted California Fall Color Reports 10/20/14

California Fall Color has a number of new fall color reports from all over the state. Here are the highlights

The Redwood Highway (Peak – 75 – 100%) - We’re asking North Coast spotters to confirm this report by sending photos.

Redwood National and State Parks (Past Peak) – YOU MISSED IT!

Lake Gregory (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – Oaks and other deciduous trees surrounding the lake have been slowly developing their color since first reported on Oct. 5.  Unlike higher elevations in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Gregory has not neared peak and will continue to develop color in coming weeks.

Lake Hemet (Just Starting – 0 – 10%) - A report from Lake Hemet states that little color has yet developed in the San Jacinto Mountains.  On the basis of that report, we’ve downgraded the San Jacintos and ranges to the south, to Just Starting.

The Eastern Sierra that this weekend was glorious, though he worries that wind predicted for tomorrow will strip what little is left in Bishop Creek Canyon.

the area around Aspendell is both at peak and past peak, though on the main road through Aspendell there’s still green among the aspen, meaning that color change will continue to develop for a week or two.

It’s a mix of patchy color with yellow, orange and leafless stands.  The color is lasting a week longer than usual.  “Even around the tiny burg of South Fork Bishop Creek there are pockets of bright yellow aspen with this photo taken about a mile up the road.” If you’re in the area, GO NOW!  As, Monday’s wind will likely strip what color remains.

See photos and full reports at California Fall Color

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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 20, 2014

Plumas County Fall Color Update 10/20/14

Awesome Autumn Plumas County Northern California has the following fall color report:

The drive from Quincy to La Porte is both an adventure and a beautiful fall foliage trip with plenty of species to see at peak now. Many thanks to Suzi for sharing. Her report:

You’ll want to start off this trip getting out to enjoy a “celebrity tree,” the centuries old English maple at the beginning of the drive. The orangeish/pinkish leaves were at peak when we toured and hopefully it’s good now as well!

Definitely get off the main road and go down the first dirt road to the right. (Just before a hairpin left turn.) There’s lots of Big leaf maple in stunning yellow, along with dogwood, which was in varying stages of red. Continuing on the main road, you’ll come to the Middle Fork Feather River and again, get out and gaze along the riverbanks.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 20, 2014

North Carolina Fall Color 10/19/14

Department of Biology | Appalachian State University has a new detailed fall color report for North Carolina

Fall Color Report for Week of October 19, 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP).  We took the BRP from there to Asheville, about 71 miles of driving.  Prior to that, as we headed along I-40 through the Asheville area down to Exit 20, it was apparent that the trees were still developing their color –we saw a lot of green, although the upper elevations had some color on them.  However, this drive never has great color, since it’s lower in elevation than other areas, and there is a preponderance of tulip poplars (yellow/brown) and oaks (brown, burnt yellow, rust red).

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 20, 2014

2014-15 The Wayne Roderick Lectures

The Wayne Roderick Lectures –  Winter 2014-2015

A popular series of free public lectures on a broad array of topics related to plants and natural history. Named in honor of its founder, the Wayne Roderick Lecture Series takes place on Saturday mornings from November through February at 10:30 a.m. in the Visitor Center of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. These illustrated presentations are enjoyable for beginners and professionals alike. All lectures are free and open to the public.

At the Regional Parks Botanic Garden   Shasta Rd, Berkeley, CA 94708
Saturday Mornings 10:30  Seating is limited!  Come Very Early and Save a Chair.
November 1, 2014 Flora ID Northwest: A new set of apps and computer programs for plant identification – interactive keys for both amateur and professional botanists Bruce Barnes
November 8, 2014 Highlights of Cook & Green Pass in the Siskiyou Mountains Ted Kipping
November 15, 2014 Natural History of Iceland Ron Felzer
November 22, 2014 A rose is still a rose, but is a monkeyflower still aMimulus? Where have all the monkeyflowers gone…findings from the lab and the field Naomi Fraga
November 29, 2014 Fall color in California wildlands Stew Winchester
December 6, 2014 Botanizing Baja California by mule: Adventures into remote regions of Baja California, including cowboy uses of indigenous plants Sula Vanderplank
December 13, 2014 The Mt. Diablo fire of 2013 and its bounty of flowers Steve Edwards
December 20, 2014 Steens Mountain Flora Dick O’Donnell
December 27, 2014 NO lecture – enjoy the holidays!
January 3, 2015 Continuing the Trillium search, and the last two National Parks Bob Case
January 10, 2015 Old growth rainforest of southeastern Alaska John Kipping
January 17, 2015 Euphorbia hunting in the Old World: From the Arabian Desert to the deserts and savannas of Africa Jeff Morawetz
January 24, 2015 Conserving Northwestern Baja California Alan Harper
January 31, 2015 Flora of the Islands of the Gulf of California, Mexico Ben Wilder
February 7, 2015 Images from Isla de Cedros, the floristic edge of California. A summer vacation on a desert island in Baja California during a record breaking drought Michael Uhler
February 14, 2015 Humboldt County and the great divorce Steve Edwards
February 21, 2015 The Flora of the Blue Mountains of Oregon Dick O’Donnell
February 28, 2015 Two completed projects: The checklist of the flora – and the rare, endangered, and endemic plants – of northwestern Baja California, Mexico Bart O’Brien


Map of regional parks botanic garden
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 19, 2014

Open Pipes Kill Birds

Media Release American Bird Conservancy – Home

New Study Says “Very Large” Number of Birds May Be Killed by Open Pipes on Western Landscape

Western Bluebirds and Nine Official State Birds among the Victims

(Washington, D.C., October 9, 2014) Open pipes, widely used for a variety of purposes across the western U.S. landscape, have been reported as a “potentially very large” source of bird mortality according toresearch by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The finding was part of a peer-reviewed study accepted for publication by the “Western North American Naturalist” and authored by Charles D. Hathcock and Jeanne M. Fair.

“Based on these preliminary findings … open bollards and pipes pose a potentially large-scale threat to birds, and research on the impacts of this threat, especially to cavity-nesting birds, should be encouraged and considered in management plans,” the scientists said.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 18, 2014

Birding Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary 10/18/14

No Ducks, Grebes or Geese but 100’s of shorebirds at Elsie Roemer today. Most abundant were Black-bellied Plovers, Sanderlings, Double-crested Cormorants, Marbled Godwits, Western Sandpipers, Western Gulls, and Least Sandpipers. Also seen in good number were  Snowy Egrets, Elegant Terns, Semipalmated Plovers, Dunlin, Willets and Long-billed Curlews. A total of twenty-one species were identified.  Elsie Roemer Bird List  10/18/14

Shorebirds in flight

Shorebirds in flight. Photo  by Sandy Steinman

Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary is at the east end of Marsh Beach in the town of Alameda. It harbors aquatic birds and other salt marsh creatures. A good time to go is just after high tide as this is when many shorebirds come in to feed.

The name Black-bellied Plover can be deceptive this time of year as its belly is only black during the breeding season.

Black-bellied Plover in winter plumage

Black-bellied Plover in winter plumage. Photo by Sandy Steinman

A question that came up today was what is the source of the name semipalmated. I found the answer in article Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus — Eastside Audubon.  I discovered that  “two partially webbed toes which gives our species its name semipalmatus, half palmed, from Latin semi, half and palma, the palm” (Holloway)

We also were wondering about the name Double-crested Cormorant. According to Wikipedia:

The double-crested cormorant was described by Rene Primevere Lesson in 1831. Its scientific name is derived from the Greek words φαλακρος phalakros, “bald” and κοραξ korax, “crow” or “raven”, and the Latin auritus, “eared”, referring to its nuptial crests. Its common name refers to the same nuptial crests.

via Double-crested cormorant – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.



Double-crested Cormorant in breeding showing white nuptial crests. Photo from Wikipedia






Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 18, 2014

2014 Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks October 20 to 21

In 2014, the Orionid meter shower should peak between October 20 – 21. The best time for viewing the Orionid meteor shower  is between midnight (1 a.m. daylight time) and dawn no matter what time zone you’re in. An almost new Moon will make it easy to view the shower for both Northern and Southern Hemisphere observers. Halley’s comet causes the Orionid meteor shower. It is called Orionids because the meteors seem to emerge or radiate from the constellation Orion.

Learn more at; via Dark night for watching Orionid meteors on October 21-22 | Tonight | EarthSky.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 17, 2014

Plumas County Fall Color 10/17/14

Plumas County’ Awesome Autumn  reports

10/17/14 The last rain storm decreased the showy leaves in the Lakes Basin area near Graeagle but still some color on the Silver Lake Trail. Take the lakes basin campground entrance and follow the sign for trails. Its still a great hike in the fall air.

See photos and older reports at Awesome Autumn Fall Color Reports Plumas County Northern California.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 17, 2014

How Bird Droppings Led To Marine Nat. Monument

National Geographic  has a story on how bird droppings led to the  Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The demand for bird droppings for use as fertilizer led to the U.S. taking possession of these remote islands in the 19th century. The recent expansion of the Marine National monument increase its size by over six times its previous size to 490,0000 square miles.

Read the story at Bird Droppings Led to U.S. Possession of Newly Protected Pacific Islands.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2014

New England Fall Color Update 10/16/14

The Yankee Foliage map shows that Northern Maine and New Hampshire as well as all of Vermont are now past peak. Southern New Hampshire, and Maine  and much of Massachusetts are now at peak with Connecticut mostly at moderate fall color. See map and photo links at Yankee Foliage

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2014

Coconino National Forest Fall color 10/15/14

Coconino National Forest has a new fall color report 10/15/14

Fall colors are at their peak in the high country around Flagstaff and along the Mogollon Rim!

Suggested Sites

Flagstaff Ranger District:  

  • Hart Prairie (Accessed via Highway 180 and Forest Service Road 151 and/or FSR 418, which also loops around the north end of the Peaks for a pretty view)
  • Aspen Loop Trail (Via Hwy 180 and Snowbowl Road) or the AZ Trail that stretches from the Aspen Loop Trail north through Hart Prairie
  • Lockett Meadow (Via Hwy 89, then Forest Road 552). Check out the link for Lockett Meadow Campground for exact directions.
  • Around the Peaks Loop Scenic Drive
  • Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail and Kendrick Mountain Wilderness

Mogollon Rim Ranger District (north of Pine and Strawberry near Blue Ridge):

  • Forest Road 321 also known as “Dane Ridge” (Hwy 87 to FSR 95 next to the Mogollon Rim Ranger Station, right on FSR 96, right on FSR 321)
  • Forest Road 300, also known as “Rim Road” or “General Crook Trail” (Hwy 87 or Hwy 260 to FSR 300, 2.5 miles east of Hwy 260, 10 miles north of Strawberry)
  • Cabin Loop Trail

Red Rock Ranger District (around Sedona):

No fall colors yet – perhaps in a week or two.

Note: While Oak Creek Canyon and West Fork Oak Creek are popular locations near Sedona to see fall colors, they’re not the only places to visit and parking is very limited! There are plenty of other equally goreous leaf-peeping locations including hikes along Casner CanyonAllen’s Bend Trail by Oak Creek, and Girdner Trail along Dry Creek west of Sedona. The Crescent Moon and Chavez Crossing areas are also wonderful!


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2014

Arizona and New Mexico Fall Colors 10/16/14

Southwestern Region National Forests have the following new Fall Color Reports for 10/16/14

National Fall Color Resources

Fall colors typically begin mid to late September in the higher elevations of northern Arizona, with most of the peak viewing in early to the middle of October. The lower elevations usually peak in late October or early November and can continue through the month of November.

In New Mexico, fall colors typically begin mid to late September in the higher elevations, with most of the peak viewing in early to mid October. The lower elevations usually peak in mid to late October and can continue into early November.


Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

The aspens are changing in the high elevations on the Mogollon Rim north of Overgaard and in the mountains south of Show Low and Springerville. Peak viewing should be throughout most of October and into early November.

On the Black Mesa Ranger District the aspens, oaks and willows have started to turn. Recommended viewing routes are located on Hwy. 260 between Heber-Overgaard and Payson at mile post 282. Turn north toward Woods Canyon Lake onto Forest Road (FR) 300. To see willow and oak trees travel down scenic FR 86 from Heber to Black Canyon Lake.

From Show Low go south on Hwy. 260 which then turns eastward at the Hon-Dah casino. The next 30 miles along Hwy. 260 is where you can enjoy the fall colors because aspen trees thrive at these higher elevations. This route can also take you to Sunrise Ski Park if you turn south at the Big Lake/Sunrise turnoff onto Hwy. 273.

In the Springerville area take Hwy. 260 west to Hwy. 261 and follow the signs to Big Lake. For another good route to view aspen take Hwy. 260 west from Eager about 15 miles and turn north on FR 117, go left at FR 61 and then left on FR 96 (high clearance and 4wd are recommended for FR 96).

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Color 10/16/14

 Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Colors Tracker has the following quick summary update for 10/16/14

Past Peak (but offering long-range views of valleys below)

  • Southern region of the Blue Ridge Parkway near and below Graveyard Fields.
  • Mt Mitchell and Graggy Gardens area from around Little Switzerland to just north of Asheville.
  • Most elevations above 4500′.

At (or very close to) Peak ( 75% & up ) <= This weekend’s best outlook

  • Boone / Blowing Rock area including Price Lake and Moses Cone Manor.
  • Grandfather Mountain & Linn Cove Viaduct areas
  • North Carolina Mineral Museum north of Little Switzerland.
  • North of the Boone / Blowing Rock area to the Mabry Mill area.
  • Most elevations in the range from 3250′ to 4500′.

Near Peak, but very colorful ( 60% to 75% )

  • Asheville area near the Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center south to the area just before Mt. Pisgah.
  • Northern end of the Parkway from Skyline Drive (MP 0) to Milepost 101.  Bright colors in this area.
  • Mabry Mill area north to Roanoke.
  • Most elevations in the range from 2250′ to 3200′.

Patchy, but not green (  10% – 50% )

  • Central Virginia area around James River and Roanoke River Valleys.
  • Long range views off the eastern and western escarpment.
  • Most elevations below 2200′.

See full Report at  Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Colors Tracker.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2014

Mammoth & June Lakes Fall Color 10/16/14

California Fall Color has a new report for Mammoth and June Lakes

Mammoth Lakes and June Lakes Peak – 75 – 100% – Bright yellow is still to be seen at Mammoth Lakes and June Lakes in stands that were not stripped of leaves. GO NOW!

See photos at California Fall Color.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2014

Oak Glen, California Fall Color 10/15/14

California Fall Color has a new report for Oak Glen on 10/15/15

Oak Glen (Near Peak – 50 – 75%) – The orchard and farming community of Oak Glen, east of Yucaipa is in the midst of harvest, with apples, pumpkins and other fruits and vegetables dressing farmer’s markets. Oak Glen is nestled in the foothills below Little San Gorgonio Peak, north of I-10 on the way to Palm Springs.  The trees there are a mix of varieties, including orchard trees, natives and exotics. They’re turning along creek beds and in the fields and orchards. A confetti of lime, yellow and occasional orange/red dress their branches and hills beneath them.  In addition to the orchards and hillsides, photographing roadside farmer’s markets like Apple Annie’s provides wonderful fall color images. GO NOW!  See photos at California Fall Color finds color in Oak Glenn.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2014

N. Carolina Fall Foliage 10/15/14

Asheville NC Fall Foliage Color Leaf Report 2014 has a new fall color report for October 15, 2014

Heavy rain and high winds yesterday took a beating on many leaves that had already changed color in the highest elevations. However, most of the greener leaves survived and will be turning quickly the next two weeks. Theres great color now in much of the higher elevations above 3,000 feet elevation. The next two weekends will be peak color in much of the mountains. Great weather for the weekend!
Hikers alert: The heavy rain created muddy trails and swollen streams and waterfalls. Be extra careful and wear shoes with great grips.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2014

Warmer Temperatures Could Mean Longer, Later Fall Color

ScienceDaily reports a study by Princeton University reveals

The fall foliage season in some areas of the United States could come much later and possibly last a little longer by the end of the century as climate change causes summer temperatures to linger later into the year, according researchers. The delay could result in a longer growing season that would affect carbon uptake, agriculture, water supplies and animal behavior, among many other areas.

Read full story at: Fall foliage season may be later, but longer on warmer earth — ScienceDaily


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2014

Rio Grande National Forest Fall Color 10/15/14- Updated

Rio Grande National Forest has the following new fall color reports and photos

Conejos Peak District   2013 Photos   September 24 – colors have peaked, further south colors have not yet peaked, but they are changing fast.

Divide District                2013 photos    2014 photos  October 15 – Cottonwoods along the river from Monte Vista up to Wagon Wheel Gap are in full color.   Above Wagon Wheel Gap and up in the mountains the leaves are all blown off .

Saguache District           2013 photos   2014 photos October 15 – there are still some fall colors to view in the Moon Pass and Saguache Park areas. Also the cottonwoods are in full color throughout the area.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2014

Eastern Region Fall Color 10/15/14

Eastern Regional National Forests have the following new fall color reports. Includes reports from Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont,  and Wisconsin


The autumn season is one of the most popular seasons for visiting the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. The region is unique in that it is home to a variety of tree species. Currently there is still a lot of mixed color across the landscape, with some trees showing their autumn foliage and others still green. Some early turning trees still holding a lot of color are the deep crimson leaves of the dogwood and sumac trees. While the treetops of the maples, sycamore and elm have turned into a blend of orange, yellow and red. Always the last to change will be the wide variety of oak tree species, transforming into deep reds and burnt orange. Currently leaf change is at about 40% complete, with this year’s peak season likely to occur between Oct. 20 and 29.


The Hoosier National Forest is now at about 40% color, with beautiful maples really showing off their oranges and reds.  Sycamores and hickories are yellow and dropping their leaves quickly.  The underbrush is in full color with dogwood and spicebush leaves and berries. With the storm rolling through Monday night the Forest lost many of the colors to date.  In the next few days more of those colors will start showing back up again – stay tuned!

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2014

Eastern Sierra Fall Color: Bishop Creek Canyon 10/15/14

Parcher’s Resort just published their final fall color report for the year. See photos at: Eastern Sierra Fall Color Bishop Creek Canyon. Report below.

Overall Conditions Above 8500ft Elevation
Past Peak (You Missed It.)

Two days of wind was all it took to strip the vast majority of aspen in the higher reaches of the Bishop Creek Canyon. Still, the overall weather over the past month has been exceptional so we can’t really complain. Although we will certainly miss the fall foliage, there was more than ample time for area visitors to get some beautiful shots. With Sabrina, North Lake, Sabrina Camp, Parchers Resort and Willow Camp almost completely stripped of leaves, there is not much left to see in the higher reaches of the canyon.

Overall Conditions Between 7500 & 8500ft Elevation
Past Peak (You Missed It.)

While a few areas still have some beautiful color, most notably Intake II, Aspendell and the Four Jeffries area, but much of the color on either side of the canyon is past peak and/or stripped from the wind.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2014

New York Fall Color 10/8/2014

Fall Foliage in New York | Autumn Leaves, Scenic Drive has a new report for the week of Oct. 15 to 21

Spectacular Fall Colors Continuing to Appear Throughout New York State

Brilliant Peak Hues Predominate in Greater Niagara, Finger Lakes, Thousand Islands-Seaway and Hudson Valley regions

This is the sixth 2014 FALL COLOR REPORT for New York State. Reports are obtained from field observers and reflect expected color conditions for the coming weekend. FALL COLOR REPORTS are issued every Wednesday afternoon.

New York State’s spectacular 2014 fall foliage season is in full swing, with peak colors making their way through the Finger Lakes, Greater Niagara, Thousand Islands-Seaway, Hudson Valley, Central New York and Capital-Saratoga regions this weekend, according to observers for Empire State Development’s I LOVE NEW YORK program.

This weekend should be a good one for peak color in many areas of the Finger Lakes region. In Schuyler County, spotters in Watkins Glen are calling for peak foliage with 90 percent color change and dull to average leaves of various fall colors. Tioga County will be peak to just past peak with spotters in Owego calling for nearly complete color transition and red, yellow, orange and brown leaves of varying brilliance. In Monroe County, spotters are predicting 60-90 percent color transition and near peak to peak foliage for the weekend with yellow leaves predominating along with some red and orange leaves. Several trees have dark red leaves and this dark color gives a solid fall foliage look to large stands of trees. Brilliance is average to slightly above average. There are still some dull green leaves remaining, mainly near Lake Ontario.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2014

Chattahoochee-Oconee Nat. Forest Fall Color 10/15/14

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest  has a new fall color report for October 15, 2014

Even though the stormy weather yesterday blew a lot of the early season color of the trees, it’s still early enough for more color to develop. It should be no surprise that at the higher elevations, where most of the color was developing, the weather was the worst. Lower elevations, especially in places sheltered from the winds, will likely provide good fall color in the coming days. Stay tuned for photos later in the week.

The forecast looks good for this weekend and into next week with sunny to partly cloudy days and cool temperatures. Just right for leaf peeping.

Your best bet to check the weather and see the color so you’ll know when to make that drive into the mountains is to monitor the Brasstown Bald webcams. You can already see some nice color around the visitor center and some color is developing on the surrounding slopes

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2014

Sierra Nevada Fall Color 10/15/14

Calphoto has a new fall Color report for the Northern Sierra. It includes

  • Upper Truckee River drainage and Monitor Pass. Looking like peak.
  • Sorensons to almost Ebbetts Pass and back, then Hope Valley. Spectacular.
  • Monitor Pass. Mid-day or earlier pretty strong winds came up and were definitely blowing leaves off big time. Rather than return to Hope and Carson,
  • West shore of Tahoe. Whoa. Nothing there. All trees are bare.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 15, 2014

Mercury Contamination Changes Bird Songs

National Geographic wrote about how mercury from contaminated rivers alters bird songs. Mercury is a potent toxin that disrupts  brains, can change birds’ behavior and kill their chicks. Birds sing to attract mates and create territory. When their songs change both these abilities are impacted.

Read story at: Wild Birds’ Songs, Feather Colors Changed by Mercury Contamination.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 14, 2014

Mono County Fall Color 10/14/14

California Fall Color has a new report for Mono County. See photos at http://www.californiafallcolor.com/2014/10/14/wind-tonight-color-tomorrow/ Report below

Reports from Mono County are indicating strong winds tonight.  Though, will that mean color will be gone with the wind?

Mono County had a spectacular past weekend for color and peak conditions continue in several areasA few areas of the Eastern Sierra at lower elevations have yet to turn, including: Lower Rock Creek Rd, Lower Tioga Pass Rd and Lower Lundy Lake Rd.  Look to our Twitter feeds for the latest updates.

Rock Creek Rd. (Peak – 75 – 100%) - Rock Creek Rd. is at full peak from Tom’s Place to East Fork, three miles from U.S. 395.  GO NOW! 

Upper Rock Creek Canyon – Past Peak - Above East Fork, it’s past peak.  A sure sign is that Pie in the Sky has stopped baking pies.  They pass thanks to everyone who dropped in for a slice this past year.  Until next spring, no more pies (sniff). YOU MISSED IT! 

Lower Rock Creek Rd. (Just Starting – 10 – 50%) - The aspen groves that line Rock Creek south of Tom’s Place are just now turning and should survive the wind.  This hike should be lovely this weekend.  .

Crowley Lake (Peak – 75 – 100%) -The little green church at Crowley lake is embraced by fall color. GO NOW! 

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 14, 2014

Great Smoky Mts. Fall Color 10/14/14

Great Smoky Mt. National Park has a new Fall Color Report for  October 14, 2014

Middle and low elevations are still predominantly green, but the progression of fall color is in full force down the mountain here and there. Patches of vibrant reds have developed on dogwoods, sourwoods, and a few maples throughout the park. We’re also starting to see a bit of yellow developing, especially around water features. The vivid red leaves of Virginia creeper vine are very noticeable climbing tree trunks now. Overall however, there’s not a great deal of fall color in the lower elevations yet — the season here is still two or three weeks away.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 14, 2014

Shasta Cascade Fall Color 10/14/14

California Fall Color has and update today for the Shasta Cascade Region. Report highlights below. See photos at Plumas County nears peak for California Fall Color

GO NOW! Plumas County (Near Peak – 50 – 75%)Plumas is definitely approaching peak. Areas around Greenville are showing vibrant yellow bigleaf maple and pastel pink to vibrant red dogwood.  Plumas County’s Awesome Autumn FB page had color spotter Emily Webb reporting on 10/11 that “Hwy 89 from the Greenville Y to the Taylorsville T is spectacular… The best fall colors being on the other side of Indian Creek. I would suggest if you are going from Quincy to stop about a 1/4 mile from the Y on 89, there is a pullout on the left hand side of the road or better yet, go about another mile, where you see the Dawn Institutes apple orchard on the left, and there is a big pull out on the right. Park at the pull out and take the short and easy hike down to the creek. The maples on the other side of the creek are like gold lace, with red dogwoods intertwining in between.”  Additionally, the site reported on 10/9 that Bucks Lake Rd., right before the summit, has turned, and it is beautiful. The deep reds, rust, and yellow.  Also, Quincy’s famous “Judge Thieler” sugar maple is now peaking 

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 14, 2014

Hoosier National Forest Fall Color 10/13/14

Hoosier National Forest has the following fall color update for 10/13/14

The Hoosier is now about 40% colored with the beautiful maples really showing off their oranges and reds. Sycamores and hickories are yellow and dropping their leaves quickly. The underbrush is in full color with dogwood and spice bush leaves and berries. With the storm rolling through Monday night the forest lost many of the colors to date. In the next few days more of those colors will start showing back up again – stay tuned!

See photos at Hoosier National Forest – Home.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 14, 2014

San Juan Nat. Forest Fall Color 10/14/14

San Juan National Forest has a new fall foliage upddate for 10/14/14

Estimated Percentage of Current Fall Foliage:
Durango to Purgatory – 90% aspens peaking
Molas Pass – past peak
Silverton/Red Mountain Pass – past peak
Pagosa –70% aspens high, 90% cottonwoods along river 
Dolores to Rico – 85% peaking
Mancos – 90% peaking

Areas with Greatest Amount of Color / Recommended Viewing Areas:
Purgatory to Durango.  Williams Creek Reservoir.
North of Mancos.  West Dolores

Durango-Silverton Train still has some great leaf viewing.

Estimated Peak Viewing Period:

High elevation above 9,000 feet is mostly past peak.

The slightly lower areas below 8,000 ft look good.  Pagosa, Dolores,
Mancos changing fast.

Viewing Suggestions / Tips:

Many areas still holding good color and great weather this week.

Trees That Are Currently Turning Color:
Aspens, oakbrush.  Willows and cottonwoods along the rivers.

For More Information on Fall Colors Please Contact:
San Juan Public Lands Center, Durango (970) 247-4874

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 14, 2014

Conservation Groups Seek Federal Wolverine Protection

Press Release EarthJustice


Climate change has led to loss of spring snowpack, endangering feisty predator

Eight conservation groups joined forces today in a legal challenge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to abandon proposed protections for the wolverine, a rare and elusive mountain-dwelling species with fewer than 300 individuals remaining in the lower 48.

In February 2013, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the wolverine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act after the agency’s biologists concluded global warming was reducing the deep spring snowpack pregnant females require for denning.

But after state wildlife managers in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming objected, arguing that computer models about climate change impact are too uncertain to justify the proposed listing, in May 2014 the Service’s Regional Director Noreen Walsh ordered her agency to withdraw the listing, ignoring the recommendations of her own scientists. The reversal came despite confirmation by a panel of outside experts that deep snow is crucial to the ability of wolverines to reproduce successfully. The agency formalized that withdrawal in a final decision issued Aug. 13.


The coalition of eight conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, is suing to overturn that decision filed the lawsuit today in federal district court in Missoula, Mont.

“The wolverine is a famously tough creature that doesn’t back down from anything, but even the wolverine can’t overcome a changing climate by itself,” said Earthjustice attorney Adrienne Maxwell. “To survive, the wolverine needs the protections that only the Endangered Species Act can provide.”

The groups bringing the lawsuit are the Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Northwest, Friends of the Clearwater, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Idaho Conservation League, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, and Rocky Mountain Wild.

“The denial of protection for the wolverine is yet another unfortunate example of politics entering into what should be a purely scientific decision,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “All of the science and the agency’s own scientists say the wolverine is severely endangered by loss of spring snowpack caused by climate change, yet the agency denied protection anyway.”

“The best available science shows climate change will significantly reduce available wolverine habitat over the next century, and imperil the species,” said Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance’s Siva Sundaresan. “As an agency responsible for protecting our wildlife, FWS should not ignore science and should make their decisions based on facts and data.”

“Wolverines in the Clearwater region are particularly vulnerable because the elevations here are less than those elsewhere in the Northern Rockies,” saidGary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater. “It would be a great loss if this fearless critter were to disappear from the wild Clearwater country.”.

“One of the most important things that we can do to get wolverines on the road to recovery in the face of a warming climate is to get them back on the ground in mountain ranges where they once lived,” said Megan Mueller, senior conservation biologist with Rocky Mountain Wild. “We are disappointed by the Service’s decision not to list wolverines under the Endangered Species Act as protections would have helped to facilitate such efforts in Colorado and beyond.”

“The remote, rugged, and snowy North Cascades are ideal wolverine habitat,” said Dave Werntz, Science and Conservation Director with Conservation Northwest. “Protection under the Endangered Species Act will help wolverine survive a warming climate, shrinking snowpack, and increasingly fragmented habitat.”


The wolverine, the largest land-dwelling member of the weasel family, once roamed across the northern tier of the United States and as far south as New Mexico in the Rockies and Southern California in the Sierra Nevada range. After more than a century of trapping and habitat loss, wolverines in the lower 48 have been reduced to small, fragmented populations in Idaho, Montana, Washington, Wyoming and northeast Oregon.

With no more than 300 wolverines remaining in these regions, the species is at direct risk from climate change because wolverines depend on areas that maintain deep snow through late spring, when pregnant females dig their dens into the snowpack to birth and raise their young. Snowpack is already in decline in the western mountains, a trend that is predicted to worsen. Wolverine populations also are threatened by trapping, human disturbance, extremely low population numbers resulting in low genetic diversity, and fragmentation of habitat.

The groups challenging the Service’s determination pointed out that the agency disregarded well-established scientific evidence, including the recommendations of its own scientists, in speculating that the wolverine might be capable of withstanding the projected loss of 63 percent of its snowy habitat in the lower 48 by the year 2085. Contrary to the Service’s speculation, every one of the 562 verified wolverine den sites in North America and Scandinavia occurred in snow; 95 percent of worldwide summer wolverine observations and 89 percent of year-round wolverine observations fell within areas characterized by persistent spring snowpack. Elimination of this snowy habitat due to warming temperatures presents a direct threat to the wolverine’s survival — a danger compounded by the increasing isolation and fragmentation of wolverine habitats that threatens remaining populations with localized extinctions and inbreeding.

On May 17, the assistant director for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Rocky Mountain region recommended protection for the wolverine, concluding that the agency’s scientists had not found “any other peer-reviewed literature or other bodies of evidence that would lead us to a different conclusion. While we recognize there is uncertainty associated with when population effects may manifest themselves, any conclusion that there will not be population effects appears to be based on opinion and speculation. In our opinion that would not represent the best available scientific or commercial data available.” Despite these strong conclusions, the Fish and Wildlife Service reversed course and withdrew proposed protection for the wolverine.

Read the legal document.

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