Angela is a recent graduate from SUNY Oneonta where she earned a B.S in Philosophy. She is a native to southern Columbia County in New York and is there now working on her applications to graduate school. Angela is very passionate about the environment and enjoys hiking, playing, and promoting the protection of various places. One of her favorite places to visit is the Catskill Mountains. She also enjoys traveling, cooking fresh vegetarian meals, and reading. One of the accomplishments that Angela hopes to achieve within the next year is to master her downhill skiing abilities.
It’s foliage season! All throughout the northeast, residents and visitors admire the yellows, oranges, and reds of giant oaks and maples. The trees are a significant tourist attraction throughout the area and people value the sensual autumnal stimulation that is flying through the air. Autumn is a period of transition between summer and winter and it contains feelings of reflection and anticipation. We miss the hot, languid days of summer as the days grow shorter. The winter will soon be here.
Various travel sites have now posted suggestions for viewing fall foliage. HV/net.com is the New York Hudson Valley area’s guide to finding key spots and arranging prime times to venture into the hills and forests of the scenic Hudson Valley. Tripcart.com offers various viewing options including cruises, train rides, bike and hiking trails, day drives, and even plane rides. According to a recent New York Times article by Dave Caldwell, historic railroad lines offer rides to eager leaf viewing tourists all around the northeast. The old rail lines are an important attraction to those who want to see the foliage in a relaxed and pristine way.
Lots of people really value this time of year. Caldwell quotes Jim Wrinn from Trains Magazine who says that part of the attraction to the historic train rides throughout the streams, hills, and forests of the northeast is because it is “a subtle reminder that this beauty is fleeting and should be savored.” The transitory cycles of the environment and especially the deciduous trees of the northeast remind us to appreciate the ways in which we are also constantly changing and adapting. The beauty of the fall foliage and the ways in which we go about admiring and delighting in it show that we are closer and affected by the changes of our environment more than we perhaps typically think.
Now that we have already been plunged into October, leaf viewing tourism will hit its peak and then rapidly decline. But with climate change, how will this effect the already short fall foliage viewing season in the future? According to a recent article in the Connecticut Post, fall foliage viewing is at risk because the dry, hot summer months can prevent leaves from getting proper nutrition and thus, turn brown and simply fall off or be easily blown off by the wind. Not only does the growing threat of drastic climate change affect the beautiful views that we value so much but also, other forms of human induced environmental degradation can damage future seasons of fall foliage. According to the EPA’s website, acid rain can make leaves susceptible to disease and lack of access to nutrients.
If we want to continue to delight in one of our favorite times of year, it is important that we broaden our spectrum of value to include protection as well as admiration. As we get in our cars to take the one to four hour leaf viewing excursions, perhaps we should consider taking a bike ride or getting a group together instead. If we reflect and think about the reasons behind our aesthetic appreciation for fall foliage, then maybe we can establish and help encourage others to see why it is so important that we work to protect and respect our environment.
Image courtesy of Tripcart.com.