Last week we officially welcomed fall. Summer’s lush greenery is turning to the reds, oranges and yellows we love to see. As days become shorter and temperatures begin to drop, leaves stop their food-making process – photosynthesis. With less light and water, it isn’t worth the effort for trees to keep their leaves throughout the winter. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants transform light energy into chemical energy. As chlorophyll in leaves breaks down, the green color disappears and the red, yellow and orange colors become visible.
Have you seen the fall colours meter on the front page of our website? It’s a tool that lets you track changes to help plan your visit to our parks. The best fall colours are seen after a series of warm summer days followed by cold nights.
Each tree species has its own unique colouring. Silver maple leaves turn yellow and then brown before dropping to the ground. Sugar maples, the most common tree species in the Credit River Watershed, turn yellow in the shade and red in the sun. Depending on the tree’s genetics and the amount of sun and shade, sugar maples can change hourly from yellow to red to orange.
For leaves, their job doesn’t end once they fall to the ground. Fallen leaves are an essential part of a forest’s ecosystem. They provide protection for tree seeds on the forest floor during winter. Also, many animals use the leaf layer as their primary habitat, including salamanders, chipmunks, wood frogs, toads, shrews, earthworms, millipedes and insects.
The Cheltenham Badlands and Belfountain Conservation Area are known for providing park visitors with picturesque views of fall colours. Our new mandatory reservation system allows visitors to safely enjoy these parks. You can book a date and time to visit each property during regular hours of operation up to two weeks in advance. This allows us to limit the number of people on the property to maintain physical distancing. Book your reservation.
We’ve put additional measures in place at all CVC parks to help keep everyone safe. We limit the overall capacity at each park and the number of people in our washrooms. We ask that everyone please follow one-way travel on infrastructure and trails, and to yield to oncoming trail users so everyone can continue to practice safe physical distancing.
By Kimberley Laird, Marketing and Communications