October 24, 2014

Fall colors already changing

Fall foliage in the Eau Claire area has already reached 50 percent of its peak color as of last Friday, according to some sources. Lisa Marshall with the state Tourism Department says Mother Nature is shaking things up this season. “Especially in the areas that were drought stricken,” but not up north, “We’re predicting a fantastic fall color season. They had ample rain through the summer.”

Colors in the autumn are unpredictable in any given year, but even more during this time of drought and flooding, depending on the region. In the southern part of the state where it’s been extremely dry Marshall says, regardless of the timing or amount of color, there’s always something to do. “The fall colors are a nice backdrop for the fall season, but there’s so much more to it. The weather is nicer … hiking trails are still great, you can still go out for a fall drive.”

Tourists can always enjoy various fall harvest events this time of year, Marshall adds, the 40th anniversary of the Warrens Cranberry Fest, corn mazes, and apple orchards.

The autumn season has the second biggest economic impact to Wisconsin’s tourism industry. In 2010, it generated $3 billion. Fifty percent of travelers are from Wisconsin, the rest are from out of state — mostly the Chicago and Twin Cities areas. Fall is considered to be the period from Labor Day through October.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:38