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Fall brings change of color to Smokies foliage

10:30 PM, Oct 10, 2012   |    comments
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Fall foliage is beginning to show its colors around Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

NPS Spokesperson Dana Soehn said some visitors are calling this one of the most vibrant fall color seasons in years.

"We are in store for another fabulous fall color season," she said.

Soehn told 10News a good combination of cool nights, warms days and moisture have helped bring about the strong colors.

More Information: NPS Weekly Fall Foliage Update 

She said elevation above 4,000 feet, like Clingmans Dome and Newfound Gap, are currently at their peak.  Meanwhile, the places in between the peaks and the lowest elevations likely will not peak until the middle of October and early November.

"At the lower elevations, we still have a lot of green, but you can see some of the trees starting to turn," Soehn said.

She said the park should continue to have colors until the first week of November.

That's great news to the City of Gatlinburg.  Convention and Visitors' Bureau spokesperson Jim Davis said the fall color season was shorter last year due to strong, windy storms that had hit the area.

"All the leaves are still on the trees for the most part," he said.  "We haven't had any major storms."

Davis said the season is an important time for the city.

"We get people in here from all over the country, they book ahead and they spend a little more time," he said.

The same goes for Pigeon Forge.

Ken Maples owns the local Comfort Inn & Suites.  He said October is a busy month for the community.

"It's our second busiest month of the year, and of course, our most beautiful month," Maples said.

The numbers prove it.  According to the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, last year the city brought in more than $83 million dollars in gross tourism revenue.  The total for that month is only second to July.

One person contributing to that revenue is Anita Baucom, a tourist from Graham, Georgia.  She said she and her husband love to visit the park whenever they can.

"[My friends] they're missing out on just being a part of this," she said. "There's so much to see."

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