Ariz. foliage claim suggests colorful imaginationBy WILSON RING
The Associated Press | August 27,2013
AP File Photo A farmer chops corn in front of a hillside of fall color in Richmond.MONTPELIER — Desert sands and spectacular gorges, sure. But fall foliage? In Arizona?
That’s what the state’s tourism magazine claims in an October cover story that takes on the apex of Vermont’s natural beauty, the reds, oranges and yellows of its spectacular fall foliage. The headline reads, “Autumn in Arizona and why it’s better here than it is in Vermont.”
“Those are fighting words,” said a chuckling Burr Morse, the proprietor of Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks just outside Montpelier. His 40-year-old family business gets about a third of its revenue during the foliage season from about mid-September to mid-October when more than a dozen tour buses a day bring people to learn about syrup production as an interlude to viewing the nearby hillsides.
“There’s no desert in the world that’s going to compare with Vermont’s foliage season,” he added.
In Vermont, tourism has been one of the top industries for generations. The cover of the 1947 premiere issue of the state’s own tourism magazine, Vermont Life, was of a woman painting colors onto the state’s leaves. Now an estimated 3.5 million people visit the state during foliage season, spending an estimated $131 million.
Arizona Highways Editor Robert Stieve said his magazine’s story was designed to draw attention and dispel some of the stereotypes that Arizona is all desert and rattlesnakes.
Attention it did draw. Vermont Life created a mock cover that claimed that Quechee Gorge is grander than the Grand Canyon.
But Stieve acknowledges that Arizona’s offerings probably don’t compare to Vermont’s.
“The truth is, we set Vermont up as the gold standard for fall leaves,” Stieve said.
Arizona’s foliage season does have one distinct advantage over Vermont: It can linger into December, when Vermont’s trees are usually barren and cold weather has set in.
Arizona’s high country boasts changing colors starting in mid-September. The colors can be found in the big-tooth maple trees, scarlet sumac and golden aspens. Some of the best places to see them include the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, Flagstaff, Oak Creek Canyon in northern Arizona and the mountains around Tucson.
“People who live in the metropolitan areas of the desert actually have to get in their cars and drive to it for the best stuff,” Stieve said. “So part of our cover line was to inspire some of our own readers to get off the couch and get out and check things out.”
AP writer Felicia Fonseca, in Flagstaff, Ariz., contributed to this report.MORE IN Vermont News
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Scientists call for more research on the temporal and lasting effects of nuclear fallout on plants and animals in proximity to Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station where changes at the molecular level were found.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 410 CE, Visigoths sack Rome and it isn't the first time, either; in 1859, Titusville, Pa., the first commercially viable oil well comes in; in 1918, the only World War I battle fought on U.S. soil in Nogales, Ariz.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Archaelogists uncover artifacts proving that late neolithic Egyptians, pre-dating the Pyramids of Giza, practiced mummification to prepare their dead for the afterlife, far earlier than presupposed.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE:Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing that pollute ground water and the air we breathe come under scrutiny by researchers who find at least eight fracking chemicals toxic to mammals.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: The craze for Omega-3 fatty acids as a dietary supplement in its most popular form, fish oil, has led to depletion of fish stocks in oceans throughout the world. Is this the beginning of the total collapse of global fisheries?
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Suspects arrested in Killington bear death, Bryanna Allen and Kevin O'Connor report along the Back to School front, Rutland Plywood site remains an active fire scene as debris continues to smolder.