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Despite slow start, fall colors starting to change across Kansas, Missouri

Updated: 2013-10-11T20:18:02Z

By ROBERT A. CRONKLETON

The Kansas City Star

The change of colors of fall foliage got off to a late start this year, but leaf peepers should soon start seeing the greens give way to yellow, orange and red.

The peak color is still a week or two away, and might occur a bit later than normal in some areas, according to forestry experts.

But there is still plenty to see as shrubs and vines, including dogwood, sumac, poison ivy and Virginia creeper, have turned red.

Last weekend’s widespread heavy rains provided needed moisture and the high winds did not strip off too many leaves, primarily because they were still mostly green, according to Charles Barden, professor of forestry at Kansas State University.

The intensity and duration of fall colors still relies on the weather — sunny days and cool nights are the best.

For those looking to plan an outing, the Missouri Department of Conservation announced that the 27th annual Poosey Conservation Area fall driving tour will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.

The tour, near Chillicothe, follows a gravel road that normally is not open to vehicles. The road from Pike’s Lake takes people up hills and down hollows, near the Panther’s Den and through woods.

The tour takes motorists through the historic and scenic area once known as Poosey.

Four-wheel-drive or high-clearance vehicles are recommended to get up hills and over dips.

“This is a part of the area where you normally are not allowed to take vehicles,” Phil Sneed, a forester and area manager for Missouri Department of Conservation said in a release. “People enjoy it because it’s at a time of year when fall color is peaking and there’s a lot of history on the area.”

The driving tour takes about an hour without stops.

The Poosey Conservation Area is northwest of Chillicothe, Mo., and can be reached via Missouri 190 and Route A.

For a map of the area, go to http://on.mo.gov/GNTgA3 and under Area Resources on the left side of that page click on Area Map.

To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com.

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