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Color is coming: Explore Minnesota wants you to get outside and see peak fall colors

BEMIDJI--The leaves in the Bemidji area are, for the most part, still green. But the hints of orange and yellow in the canopy of trees near the entrance of Lake Bemidji State Park is a sure sign that autumn is on the way.

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Leaves are beginning to change color in the canopy of trees leading into Lake Bemidji State Park. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI-The leaves in the Bemidji area are, for the most part, still green. But the hints of orange and yellow in the canopy of trees near the entrance of Lake Bemidji State Park is a sure sign that autumn is on the way.

Explore Minnesota, the state's tourism promotion office, along with Minnesota State Parks and Trails will provide a weekly fall color report so residents and visitors can be up to date with the changing of the leaves.

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"Scenic road trips, harvest season, festivals and outdoor recreation make fall the second-biggest travel season. Minnesota is a top destination to experience the fall colors at parks and trails across the state," said Explore Minnesota director John Edman in a news release. "With weekly statewide fall color reports, we're able to help travelers make the most of this special season."

State park staff throughout Minnesota will assess the status of the trees, wildflowers and grasses in the area and update the online Fall Color Finder at mndnr.gov/fallcolor every Wednesday through the end of October.

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The map, viewed nearly a half million times in 2017, includes a color-coded areas showing the approximate percentage of leaves that have changed color as well as a slideshow of recent photos taken by park staff and visitors.

The Mississippi Headwaters along with Lake Bemidji State Park are listed on Explore Minnesota's "Rainbow Routes: 10 Fall Color Drives." The list mentions the birch and pine trees in Lake Bemidji State Park as a highlight.

"Don't waste time indoors," said Erika Rivers, director of the Parks and Trails Division at the Minnesota DNR, in the release. "Grab your camera and get out hiking, biking or paddling before the short but spectacular fall color show is over at Minnesota state parks and trails."

The fall color show in Minnesota typically begins along the northern border in early to mid-September, the news release said, and then spreads south through October. Colors can peak between mid-September and early October in northern Minnesota, and between late September and early October in the central region.

Peak fall color typically lasts about two weeks, but can vary widely depending on location, elevation and weather, the release said. Trees at higher elevations are the earliest to show color change.

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The Bemidji community and visitors to Lake Bemidji State Park can expect full fall colors in a few weeks. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at (218) 333-9786, (218) 996-1216 or at jgandsey@bemidjipioneer.com.
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