DNR Fall Foliage Report September 28, 2023


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Staff member
Fall Foliage Map as of 9/28/2023

“I cannot endure to waste something as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house.”

– Nathaniel Hawthorne

Most of us are rejoicing after seeing the sun for the first time in days. Tropical Storm Ophelia brought drenching rain to Maryland’s coastal region last weekend, with additional rain stretching into the western portion of our state. The rainy days and cloudy skies continued for much of the week, providing much needed moisture to areas experiencing drought conditions. While this last batch of rain won’t be enough to offset the previous weeks of dry weather, it has made an impact on foliage in the region.

Western Maryland​

The western region of our state, typically the first to see peak fall foliage conditions is beginning to see the seasonal transition come to life. Aaron Cook, Forester at Indian Creek Wildlife Management Area, took the opportunity to snap this photo during a break in rainfall from the storm: Flowering dogwoods all around my area are just about at their peak, albeit a little duller this year.”​

Courtesy of Aaron Cook, Forester, Indian Creek Wildlife Management Area

Melissa Nash, Forester in Garrett and Allegany counties, reports an increase in fall color in Garrett County, and she is optimistic about the impact recent rainfall will have on fall foliage: “Hopefully it has been enough to help improve color conditions for the remainder of the season!”

Photo taken near Deep Creek Lake by Melissa Nash
Photo taken near Deep Creek Lake by Melissa Nash, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Images from Sideling Hill Creek State Park from Ranger Kendra Bree, Fort Frederick State Park, Washington County

Central Maryland​

Although most of the landscape is still mostly green in the central region of our state, the area is ripe with edible fruits and mushrooms, thanks to the abundance of rain this week. David Gigliotti, an administrative specialist with Susquehanna State Park explains: “A few trees, such as dogwood, maple, and walnut are starting to show small patches of color here and there, but more interesting right now is the appearance of edibles like paw-paw fruit (tastes like mango/banana) and Chicken of the Woods mushrooms,” a species aptly named due to its chicken-like flavor. However, when gathering edibles proceed with caution. Some people suffer from paw-paw allergies, so it’s best to only try a little at first. Forester Melissa Nash warns, “Some edible mushrooms are easy to identify while others are more difficult. Be sure to positively identify any wild mushrooms before consuming.” Check out the department’s foraging tips, included in our online cookbook, “Wild Maryland.”

Northern Maryland​

Seasonal Ranger Shin Ae Gonzalez, Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area and Bohemia River State Park, captured the first sight of red in the leaves on Tawes Drive in Fair Hill. The region remains mostly green, but signs of fall are definitely making their way into the landscape.

Photo taken at Wolf Den Run State Park, Rachel Zimmerman, Administrative Officer, Park Service
Photo taken at Wolf Den Run State Park, Rachel Zimmerman, Administrative Officer, Maryland Park Service

Southern Maryland​

In La Plata in Charles County, the tree canopies are mostly green with pops of red, orange and gold appearing in sweetgum, white oak, and red maple. Chase Kolstron, Project Forester, notes, “subtle changes are giving us a glimpse of what’s to come.”

Chase Kolstrom, Project Forester
Courtesy of Chase Kolstrom, Project Forester

Photos Sent in by Our Readers​

Becky F. of Allegany writes “Overnight we have seen change!”

Wayne W. of Frederick, MD
Image of two cabins at Camp Misty.

Wayne Wolfersberger checked in this week from Frederick: “Ground was quite dry in the Catoctin Mountain Park (a National Park Service site near Camp David) on Friday 22 September. Leaves of dominant trees are still green with the exception of many poplars that were mostly brown and on the ground.”

We welcome all of Maryland’s outdoor enthusiasts to send in photos capturing the beauty of the fall season. Please use the submission form to submit your entries directly to us. Your photo might be selected to appear in a future edition of the Fall Foliage Report.

Fall Recreation Spotlight​

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at Seneca Creek State Park takes place October 1 from noon to 4 p.m. The annual event features fun for the whole family — live music, games and prizes, and opportunities to connect with local educational and environmental organizations that work with the Latino and Hispanic communities. Admission to the event is free; a nominal park entry fee applies.

Watch the Sky​

Stargazers in Maryland will enjoy a Full Moon, also known as a Harvest Moon in the Northern Hemisphere, on Friday, September 29. The moon will be fully illuminated at 5:58 a.m. prior to moonset at 8:21 a.m. EST. According to NASA, this upcoming supermoon will be 224,854 miles from Earth and appear about 5% bigger and 13% brighter than the average full moon in 2023. This is the last supermoon of 2023, but unfortunately the weather forecast looks less than ideal for viewing.

Photo of flowering dogwood