AUGUSTA — Peak foliage color has reached Maine's western lakes and mountains region, and the upper Kennebec and Penobscot River valleys, according to the fourth 2012 Fall Foliage Report from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
Currently, Maine Forest Service and state park rangers are reporting peak, or at least 75 percent, color change in the western tracking zone that stretches from Greenville to Bethel, and includes Rangeley, Carrabassett Valley, Grafton Notch State Park and Mt. Blue State Park. Rangers expect color change to continue into next week, and report that leaf drop in the locations is low, or 10-30 percent overall.
Peak color and low leaf drop are also being reported in the northeastern tracking zone covering Houlton, Millinocket, the Lincoln Lakes region and Route 9 to Calais, as well as the central tracking zone that includes Dover-Foxcroft, Newport and Bangor.
"Travelers with plans to visit Maine over the Columbus Day weekend or the following weekend will see plenty of vibrant colors in the regions that are currently reporting peak color change," Maine fall foliage spokeswoman Gale Ross said. "The contrasting colors in the tree canopy and landscapes are magnificent."
Rangers in Aroostook County are reporting peak leaf color for the second consecutive week, and low leaf drop.
High leaf color, from 50-70 percent toward peak, has reached all coastal communities from Kittery to Eastport, and central and southwest regions from Augusta to Auburn, Sebago Lake and Fryeburg, according to rangers. Leaf drop is low in these regions.
Overnight temperatures in the 40s and the continued decrease in daylight will spark the gradual change in leaf color from north to south through late October, according to the report.
Maine's fall foliage conditions will be updated on this website each Wednesday through at least Oct. 17. Visitors to the website can sign up to receive the weekly reports by e-mail, and submit photos of foliage scenes from around Maine. Maine foliage fans can also share photos and favorite viewing spots at the Maine Fall Foliage page on Facebook.
A ranger-led foliage hike will be offered at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal on Oct. 6. More information about the hike can be found at http://take-it-outside.com/hike2012.shtml
Go to http://www.visitmaine.com for more information about fall activities and events in Maine.