Autumn is one of the best times of year to enjoy the beautiful outdoors in the Upper Peninsula. Expansive forests become a sea of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. The air is cooler and the mosquitoes are (mostly) gone. With the changing season comes a few things that are important to remember when we recreate outside.
Prepare for Fall Weather and Conditions
With the changing colors comes the changes in weather. Fall in the UP will bring more rain and cooler temperatures. Remember to plan ahead by checking the weather, and packing rain gear and additional layers. Lace up your hiking boots, as trails will likely have muddy conditions.
Pay Close Attention to the Trail
Trails can be harder to follow when the forest floor is covered in fall foliage. Be sure to plan your route before heading out on the trail and pay extra attention to trail markers along the way. Download maps on your phone, or bring paper maps of where you are going.
Avoid the Crowds
There’s no shortage of beautiful and vibrant colors in Marquette County during the Autumn season. Popular fall color viewing areas like scenic overlooks will likely be crowded during peak color season. Avoid the crowds and prevent further trail damage by visiting during off times such as early mornings, evenings, or weekdays.
Give Extra Space to Wildlife
Fall is an important time as wildlife are preparing for and gathering food for the long winter. Respect wildlife by observing from a distance and allowing them access to the resources they may need from nature such as food or water. Leave things like fallen leaves, acorns, pinecones, and other natural food sources you may find.
Photo Courtesy of Northern Mycology Club
There are a lot of special things in nature that grow during the autumn season. The Leave No Trace organization states, “If done respectfully, foraging can yield a bountiful harvest for the forager while ensuring that these natural resources remain healthy and abundant for those who follow.”
First, make sure you are permitted, or have the proper permits to forage on the land you’re at. Always consult experts, and guidebooks, or do research before harvesting, as the stakes are very high when it comes to picking the wrong fungi.
Harvesting should be done with caution, making sure to leave enough of the resources left for it to recover and grow again.
You can learn more about leave-no-trace guidelines for foraging here.