Fall’s first day foliage

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Nature-lovers in eastern KELOLAND are seeing red… along with yellows and oranges. Falls colors are bursting forth on the outskirts of Sioux Falls.

Yellow-tinged treetops are giving leaf-lookers their first glimpse of fall at Good Earth State Park.

“It’s really, really nice,” Anthony Whitlow of Sioux Falls said.

First-time park visitor Anthony Whitlow is hiking with his fiancée Maddy Schei and their dog Maple, as in the tree. Whitlow says he’s surprised at how robust the fall colors are, in spite of the dry summer.

“With it being such an arid climate, I expected it to be a little more yellow and that hay kind of color, but it’s beautiful,” Whitlow said.

Park officials expect Mother Nature to put on a good show this fall, even though the drought-stressed parts of the forest earlier this year.

“I think it will be just as beautiful as it always is. The trees got their leaves on early and they were nice and ready to go and now it’s just time for them to change into their fall colors,” Good Earth State Park Naturalist Jen Stahl said.

But it’s not just the colorful trees that draw visitors to Good Earth State Park at this time of year. There’s also an array of wildflowers to dazzle the eye.

“So all those last-minute pollinators for the bees and the butterflies as they’re moving through and get that last little burst of energy before winter and they’re booming right now,” Stahl.

Stahl expects the fall colors to peak within the first couple of weeks in October. So visitors still have plenty of time to check out the seasonal splendor on display throughout Good Earth State Park.

“Once the season starts to get a little cooler, we hit mid-October, we’ll probably come back out here, yeah,” Whitlow said.

Before you head out the door to look at the fall colors, you’ll want to check out the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department’s fall foliage tracker. It shows how close the fall colors are to reaching their peak across the state.

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