iloveny-stack.jpgVisit iloveny.com for up-to-date color information and ‘More Smiles Per Gallon' driving tours! For information on becoming a volunteer Leaf Peeper, e-mail foliage@empire.state.ny.us Albany, N.Y. - As summer gently fades away, New York State is getting ready for the Fall travel season, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the state's roadways and waterways, small towns, scenic vistas, country fairs and harvest festivals. And it all takes place before a backdrop of spectacularly colorful autumn foliage.    New York's dedicated team of foliage observers ... or "Leaf Peepers" ... are getting ready to swing into action, scouring the state's countryside and towns to gather information for I LOVE NEW YORK's weekly fall foliage reports. Get Up-to-Date Fall Foliage Color Reports Online New York's weekly I LOVE NEW YORK fall foliage color reports begin Wednesday, September 7 and continue until the end of the foliage season, around the first week in November. Each Wednesday afternoon throughout the season, reports are updated online to provide the latest information on foliage color conditions in each region of the state. The weekly foliage report, a detailed map charting fall color progress, vantage points for viewing spectacular foliage, suggested autumn getaways and weekly event listings are available by visiting the I LOVE NEW YORK web site at http://www.iloveny.com/. Reports are also available by dialing, toll-free, 800/CALL-NYS (800/225-5697) from anywhere in the U.S., its territories and Canada. For additional New York fall foliage information including select sneak previews of the week's I LOVE NEW YORK Fall Foliage Report, follow the hash tag: #ILoveNYFallColors on Twitter. Simply type #ILoveNYFallColors into the search box on Twitter and you can access all of the tweets about New York State's fall colors and where to find the best places in the state to see them. For information on becoming a volunteer Leaf Peeper, e-mail your name, address and phone number to foliage@empire.state.ny.us. Foliage Means Business for New York State The spectacular colors of a New York State autumn mean more than just pretty scenery to those in the State's travel and tourism industry. The fall foliage season means big business for New York; with more than 24 percent of overnight trips and more than 23 percent of day trips taking place between September and November, it's one of the state's most popular travel seasons. This so-called "shoulder season" has become a favorite time for weekend getaways and week-long vacations, as well as the traditional drive to the country to view nature's colorful display. New York State's Advantage Why do people from all over the world head to the spectacular New York State foliage display? Unlike the rest of the country, the northeast is particularly blessed with a great variety of broad-leaved trees, which help give the region's foliage a spectacular color range. New York State has almost as many acres of such trees as the rest of the Northeast combined. The change in color from the bright greens of summer to the brilliant hues of fall follows a predictable pattern across the state. It begins high in the Adirondack and Catskill mountains in late August and early September, and spreads out and down across the hills and valleys of the state, ending on Long Island and in New York City in late October to early November. It takes about two weeks for the colors to complete their cycles in any given area, with peak brilliance lasting three to four days in any one spot. How Leaves Change Color Seasonal conditions and the resultant chemical changes in the leaves are the key factors in the timing and coloration of the leaves. Generally, clear, sunny days and cool nights with temperatures in the 40's bring about the most striking autumn colors. Three chemicals within the leaves - chlorophyll, carotenoids and anthocyanins - are involved in the annual color change process. As temperatures cool and the days shorten, cells at the base of the leaves disintegrate, blocking passages from the leaves to the branches and causing chlorophyll to decompose. Chlorophyll is what gives most plants their green color. As the chlorophyll fades, colors in the other pigments - the carotenoids and anthocyanins - come to the surface. Trees with leaves having a preponderance of carotenoids - like beech, birch and willow - turn varying shades of yellow. When anthocyanins predominate - as in the case of many maples, dogwoods and sumac - reds and purples appear. Get ‘More Smiles Per Gallon' This Fall Autumn is the perfect season for driving tours in New York State, the air is crisp and cool and the colors spectacular. Visit iloveny.com for terrific ‘More Smiles Per Gallon' driving excursions throughout the state that you can enjoy on a single tank of gas. Choose from many destinations and routes and connect with local tourism professionals to find out more about dining, lodging, events, packages and promotions. Editor's Note to Meteorologists: If you would like to directly receive I LOVE NEW YORK fall foliage reports along with high-resolution versions of the weekly color progression map, please contact Eric Scheffel at escheffel@empire.state.ny.us or (518) 292-5274. About New York State  New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions.  New York's attractions span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls to the wine trails of Hudson Valley and treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  Whether it's wide-ranging outdoor activities for the whole family like fishing, hiking and boating; culinary wonders and farm-to-table fresh foods; or the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies, New York State offers diverse activities for all travelers. For more information visit http://www.iloveny.com/. Media can find press releases and more at http://www.thebeat.iloveny.com/. You can also get I LOVE NEW YORK updates and information on Twitter:  twitter.com/I_LOVE_NY Facebook:  www.facebook.com/iloveny Flickr:  www.flickr.com/photos/officialiloveny YouTube:   www.youtube.com/OFFICIALILOVENY  About Empire State Development  Empire State Development is New York's chief economic development agency and administrator of the statewide business resource portal New York First (http://www.nyfirst.ny.gov/).  The mission of Empire State Development is to promote business investment and growth that leads to job creation and prosperous communities across New York State.  ESD also oversees the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State's iconic tourism brand.  For more information on Empire State Development, visit http://www.esd.ny.gov/.  

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Contact: Eric Scheffel Empire State Development Phone: (518) 292-5274 escheffel@empire.state.ny.us Lisa Willner Empire State Development Phone: (800) 260-7313  lwillner@empire.state.ny.us