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Fall color boom or bust? Fear over Indiana's fall foliage may be false

Ohio River

Will it be an epic fall or an epic fail?

Indiana counties that bank on the beautiful fall colors and a bunch of tourists are a little worried this year.

The severe drought stressed out the trees.  Some trees died and other trees lost their leaves early.

But, Brown County is still about to explode with fall colors.  Some fear its brilliance will be a bust because of the hot, dry summer. Naturalist Jim Eagleman at the Brown County State Park says that’s not necessarily the case.

“The drought and the high temperatures back in the summer definitely had a stress on trees and they responded by premature leaf drop,” Eagleman said. “Some people say, ‘Oh gosh, there goes our fall color.’  But you know what? We've never been disappointed with fall color here in Brown County.”

But the big show has yet to begin.

“So we look for fall color from the last week of September through almost all of October,” said Eagleman.

The town of Nashville, Ind., is banking on a good fall season along with more than 200,000 visitors.

“We're already seeing them, starting about a week or two ago,” said Brown County Visitors Bureau Spokeswoman Jamie Newton.

She said the visitors bureau says it has been getting calls from people worried about the colors this year but they say don’t cancel your trip just yet.

“You know, I don't think there ever really has been a bust,” Newton said.  “We have so many trees here, we have thousands of trees here, we have thousands and thousands of acres of trees and they all react to sunlight and weather in completely different ways so you really don't know what's going to happen.”

Some of the best places to see the leaves are Madison, Parke County, Metamora, Monroe and Brown County and along the Ohio River Scenic Byway.

Experts said the peak should be a little early, around the first week in October.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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