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Monarchs Return

Monarch Butterflies, Santa Cruz (1/15/2006) John Poimiroo

One hundred times more Monarch butterflies are being seen along the California coast this year, than were counted last year, as reported on CBS News.



California Sun Shines on LA County

The California Sun loves California Fall Color, as we do it.

California Sun editor Mike McPhate reminded readers of the beauty to be found at the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden – which we suggest as a perfect destination on Orange Friday (the day following Thanksgiving Day) – much better’n a mall.

Back in the California Sun

If you subscribe to only one trans-California news consolidator, subscribe to California Sun. Edited by journalist Mike McPhate, it includes the most important and surprising news of our Golden State.

The Sun also shines occasionally on CaliforniaFallColor.com, as it did, today.

Stockton Surprises

Calaveras Big Trees State Park (10/22/16) Jeff Hemming

Stockton Record travel columnist Tim Viall turned to CaliforniaFallColor.com for advice on the autumn show in his latest column, “Forget New England”. Now, we turn to Tim for advice on where to find fall color near Stockton.

His top five picks include:

  • CA-88 – Hope Valley (7,300′)
  • CA-108 – Dardanelle’s Resort (5,700′)
  • CA – 4 – Calaveras Big Trees State Park (4,800′)
  • CA – 4 – Ironstone Vineyards, Murphys (2,172′)
  • CA-99 – Cosumnes River Preserve (15′)

Bravo, Tim. All good choices. In checking our archives, each of them has been featured in previous years.

Tim adds urban forests in downtown Stockton, Lodi and Modesto of which we agree. California’s Central Valley cities were all planted with towering shade trees (London Plane Trees) as refuge from hot summer temperatures. Those trees create beautiful falls of leaves in autumn. Many exotics have been planted for seasonal color and fill the cities with crimson, hot pink, electric yellow, orange and lime, as well.

When deciding when to go, use the same approach used throughout California. Measure peak according to how it is descending in the Sierra.

The Hope Valley will be the first to peak in a week to a week and a half, then the Dardanelle’s Resort and Calaveras Big Trees, down to Murphys and the Gold Country before reaching the valley’s river preserves and wildlife refuges.

As for wildlife refuges, we would add the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve near Lodi for its exceptional show of Sandhill Cranes (now there).


Don’t Leave Home

Stevens Canyon Rd., Cupertino (11/13/20) Vishal Mishra

The San Jose Mercury News explains how to see fall color without straying far from home, referencing CaliforniaFallColor.com as a guide to seeing fall color nearby. To read their analysis, CLICK HERE.

Best Outdoor Medium

Mallard hen and Kokanee salmon, Taylor Creek (10/30/20) John Poimiroo

Californiafallcolor.com was chosen as Medium of the Year within the Outdoor Writers Association of California’s 2021 Excellence in Craft Awards.

The site also swept the contest’s Digital Platform category for its photographic essays including 1st Place Siskiyou Sonata and 3rd Place Davis Dessert by Philip Reedy. And the above image was awarded a 2nd Place in the Action Image category.

OWAC is California’s largest association of professional outdoor journalists.


We’re Number One!

In losing trees, that is.

According to a study done by LawnStarter, California leads the nation in deforestation.

LawnStarter compared the 50 states and District of Columbia across eight key metrics and over four time periods to determine where tree cover has shrunk most. They found that California led significantly over second-place Oregon in overall ranking, one-year, five-year and ten-year rankings.

Our ignominious accomplishment was described by LawnStarter in this way: “California not only ranked No. 1 overall among the States That Lost the Most Tree Cover, but it also swept every single metric.”

Now, don’t start cheering. Fire was described as a leading cause of tree loss in 2020, resulting from our worst wildfire season ever, “destroying some of its oldest green giants: redwoods, sequoias (sic.) and Joshua trees. California wildfires ravaged over 4 million acres – an area bigger than Connecticut – accounting for 40% of the total acres burned across the U.S.

“California lost more tree canopy than any other state in every time period we logged, mostly due to wildfires but also to drought and pests.” LawnStarter’s press announcement reported.

Why this matters is that the world is losing trees fast. The U.S. is no different. “Between 2009 and 2014, U.S. cities and rural communities collectively lost 36 million trees, per year.” LawnStarter translates that to the equivalent of saving “$96 million annually by lowering our energy bills, cleaning the air and capturing harmful carbon that contributes to climate change.”

Sadly, 2020 may not be California’s record year for wildfire. It could well be in front of us, as this is a drought year with barren reservoirs and high levels of evaporation already recorded.

Being number one in this category is an achievement we ought not celebrate.

Photo credit: B Street, Arcata (12/5/20) Michelle Pontoni

SF Peaks at SFGate

SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle’s online presence, turned to CaliforniaFallColor.com for news about where it’s peaking in the San Francisco Bay Area. CLICK HERE to read what they reported.


Best In The West: Philip Reedy

Black oak and bigleaf maple detritus, Mossbrae Falls, Dunsmuir (10/25/19) Philip Reedy

CaliforniaFallColor.com contributor Philip Reedy was recognized as one of the Best in the West in the recent Outdoor Writers Association (OWAC) Excellence in Craft Awards for his photographic work in multiple categories.

The OWAC press release, received today stated, “Reedy won Best Outdoor Action Photograph for his image “Advice from Grandpa” published in the Trout Unlimited 2020 Calendar (July) and also took first place in the Best Outdoor Medium category with Southwest Fly Fishing magazine. For his Northwest Fly Fishing magazine cover he received second place honors in Best Outdoor Feature Photograph, as well as second place in Best Outdoor Photographic Series for images published on the Worldwide Web at Californiafallcolor.com

A Wild Report

Heading out into The Wild? Well, don’t do so without first reading the Los Angeles Times’ The Wild, edited by Mary Forgione.

In the above number, she connects with us, the color spotters and “leaf lovers” (her term, but one we like and will add to our lexicon) who set out to The Wild in search of fall color. Subscribe HERE.