Fall is here, and unlike other seasons of the year, fall never comes in like a lion or a mouse; it just radiates with the beauty of the landscape as it changes to colors of brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges.
A lot of folks aren’t aware that an amazing change of colors also happens in our national grasslands. To compare the two natural wonders of autumn, trees versus grass, would be as pointless as comparing vertical to horizontal planes in mathematics. The soaring majesty of brilliantly colored trees is no less stunning than wispy golden red grasses spreading across a wide open field or sweeping over seemingly unending undulating hills.
The Forest Service’s Fall Colors 2017 theme this year is Where the Wild Colors Are, and those colors are also in our grasslands. In fact, millions of square miles of them. The Forest Service alone manages over 16 million acres of grasslands.
So that’s why this year, we’re giving our grasslands a center spotlight by featuring a series of them in a story map. The seven highlighted grasslands will crisscross the midsection of the nation starting near Chicago’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and continue west to Colorado’s Pawnee National Grassland, south to Oklahoma’s Black Kettle and McClellan Creek National Grasslands, and beyond.
Fall colors tourism is always a boon to local and state economies, attracting visitors who flock to national forests and grasslands and the hotels and restaurants surrounding them. For example, in a typical fall, the state of New Hampshire receives over eight million visitors who spend nearly $1.5 billion. Many of them flock to the Kancamagus Highway, a scenic byway in the White Mountain National Forest renowned for its dramatic vistas.
And remember, as in years past, the Forest Service’s Fall Colors 2017 Website is a great resource for those planning a colorful getaway this autumn to either a national grassland or forest—so get out there and Go Where the Wild Colors Are!