AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Conservation’s official fall foliage website http://www.mainefoliage.com/ will launch on Wednesday, Sept. 14, and continue with regular reports on fall foliage conditions through Wednesday, Oct. 19, or until the entire state has reached past peak conditions, according to Gale Ross, Maine foliage spokeswoman.
Now in their 53rd year of foliage reporting, Maine Forest Service forest rangers collect data and on-the-ground observations in each of the seven zones throughout the state and provide the information to the public and state media representatives. Their data are collected and compiled on the fall foliage zone map included on the website.
The forest rangers use mobile collection devices throughout the year to collect information needed for the Maine Forest Service and also to provide on-site observations for flood and other natural emergency situations, Ross said.
The foliage website has a new design this year that will enable faster, easier access that can be viewed on mobile devices. Leaf peepers now can take photos with their phones and instantly submit them to the Maine foliage website, Ross said.
The site also incorporates links to social media, including Facebook, which allows leaf peepers to see foliage updates instantly, the foliage spokeswoman said.
“To date, more 1,500 people have signed up to receive the fall foliage reports sent directly to their email address,” Ross said.
More than 17 million acres of Maine forest had only minor damage from Tropical Storm Irene, Ross noted.
Fall foliage hikes at Maine state parks and public reserved lands will be held throughout the reporting season, organized by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands interpretive staff.
More information on the planned foliage hikes, which will be suitable for a variety of hiking abilities, will be released later this month. Interested participants should check the Maine state parks Event Calendar on the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands website.
For more information on the fall foliage site, visit http://www.mainefoliage.com/.