RUMFORD — Clear skies this weekend will give leaf peepers good conditions to enjoy peak foliage colors in Western Maine’s lakes and mountains region, according to the Maine Department of Conservation.

Forest rangers are reporting high color, or 50 to 70 percent toward peak, in Rangeley, Rumford and Bethel, and peak foliage conditions, or at least 75 percent color change, from Stratton to Moosehead Lake and Lincoln to Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park.

“The time is right to head for the western mountains, the Millinocket area and the northern lakes of Washington County,” Gale Ross, MDOC fall foliage spokeswoman said in a Wednesday report.

“I have encouraged travelers to plan their Maine foliage trip for this time of the month, and I am happy that Mother Nature cooperated,” she said.

High color was also reached in the central and eastern portion of the state from Dover-Foxcroft to Bangor. Rangers are reporting moderate color change from Sebago Lake to Augusta and along the coast.

When heading out to view the foliage, bringing along winter jackets might be a good idea.

According to the National Weather Service, trace amounts of snow could fall as early as Sunday night, with more possible for Tuesday.

Temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit that are forecast for next week mean ski areas such as Sunday River in Newry and Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley could begin making snow.

“It’s a definite possibility,” Sunday River spokeswoman Darcy Liberty said by e-mail Friday.

“We are planning to test out some of our new lines as soon as temps get cold enough, most notably the new line to the summit on Gondola Line Extension,” Sugarloaf spokesman Ethan Austin also said by e-mail on Friday.

“If the forecast holds true, it will probably happen sometime this week,” he said. “It would be just a test of the system and the lines, though.”

“Our projected opening date isn’t until Nov. 20, so we don’t plan to make a significant amount,” Austin added.

For more information about Maine foliage, visit www.mainefoliage.com.

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This clump of trees beside the Rumford Public Library off Route 2 along the Androscoggin River bank was showing a gorgeous array of autumn color Friday. According to Maine Forest Service rangers, high color, or 50 to 70 percent toward peak, is showing in Rumford now, while Western Maine foliage will hit peak this weekend.


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