Much of Cattaraugus County at fall foliage midpoint this weekend

The Mardi Gras Slope at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville has a patchwork quilt appearance in the colors of the trees lining the slope.

The I Love New York Fall Foliage Report shows much of Cattaraugus County at the midpoint of peak colors this weekend.

The leaves on the trees in the northern third of the county are in the “just changing” stage, according to local observers for I Love New York.

Jacquie Gardner, a tourism specialist with the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism, has been contributing foliage reports to the state for several years.

“I look at the trees,” Gardner said Friday. “About half of them have some color.”

To those who complain that the fall colors aren’t quite up to snuff yet this year — especially the reds — Gardner said she’s seen plenty of red color in the leaves. It’s not like last year, when the colors seemed muddied, she pointed out.

“Orange is the first bright color I notice, then tinges of yellow,” she said. “The red color is out there. This is going to be a beautiful fall.”

Gardner said this weekend and next are going to be the best.

“I like the front half of the colors when you can still see green leaves,” she said. “Everyone likes orange. I like the greens mixed in with reds and yellows.”

Each Tuesday, Gardner writes up her assessment of the foliage and sends it to I Love New York for publication on Wednesday.

“People put a lot of trust in us,” Gardner observed.”They plan their weekends around our reports.

Tom LaBlanc provides the same fall foliage reports to I Love New York for Allegany State Park.

“Fall is huge in Allegany State Park,” LaBlanc said. “A lot of people travel to the state park to drive through during the peak of leaf season.” Many tour buses also travel through the state park.

Gardner recommended this weekend’s Fossil and Gem Show at Rock City Park on Route 16 south of Olean. Besides the show, the view is great from the park, she added.

Almost anywhere you go in Cattaraugus County you are going to see colorful hillsides of trees, Gardner said.

This is also a good time to visit the county’s Amish Trail, Gardner said. There are more than 150 Amish businesses along the trail.

Besides loads of colorful trees on the back roads, seeing Amish families is like traveling back in time. For an online map go to AmishTrail.com/Map.

This weekend’s Chautauqua-Allegheny Region Fall Foliage Report states:

“In the Chautauqua-Allegheny Region, Cattaraugus County observers at Allegany State Park are predicting 50% change with orange and red leaves of average brilliance. Most of the maple trees have changed and the others are not far behind. Oaks are expected to be a week or two behind.

“Observers in Little Valley project 50-60% color change this weekend with yellow, yellow-green, orange, and red leaves of average brilliance.”

In neighboring Chautauqua County, “observers expect more than 25% change in the county’s northern and southern portions and around 35% change mid-county. Many leaves are still green with some red, orange, and yellow appearing,” the report states.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)