Drone Footage Shows Fall Foliage Brightening Vermont Hillsides

The season is critical to Vermonts tourism-dependent economy

Vermont's critical fall foliage season is drawing visitors from around the country and the globe, and generating revenue for the small state that depends on its travel sector.

"Vermont's landscape it doing it once again," said Mike Snyder, the commissioner of Vermont's Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation. "We like to say it's the world's best — it's kind of a race for second place."

According to the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing, 3.2-million travelers will check out the state's offerings from September through November, spending $600-million on food, lodging, travel expenses, retail, and second home costs. Of that, lodging alone accounts for roughly $109-million in expenditures, the department noted.

Those expenditures generate approximately $37-million in meals and rooms tax revenues for the state, the Department of Tourism & Marketing said.

At Norwich University in Northfield, an introduction to painting class had an awfully tough job Wednesday: trying to do the trees justice with a brush.

"I kind of like the reddish colors," student Sarah McLean said, as she took brush to canvas to paint a trees vivid orangey-red leaves.

"It's hard to capture the unique colors," added Cole Stever, another student in the art class who was observing trees while painting.

Matt Benedetto, the owner of a small business called Vermont Aerial Photo, tackles the challenge of capturing the colors of the fall foliage using a drone.

"When you see it from above, it completely changes your perspective," Benedetto said of Vermont's foliage.

Benedetto has FAA permission to fly his drone for Vermont Aerial Photo.

Wednesday, Benedetto captured breathtaking aerial video from the Groton State Forest. In the footage, it's obvious there's plenty of green left on the hillsides. Many parts of the state are still approaching peak conditions, meteorologists have observed, but the reds already appeared particularly vibrant in his video.

"I think there's definitely different colors that you see when you're analyzing them from above, looking down, rather than the straight-on shot," the drone pilot said.

Some Vermonters worried an abnormally dry summer might impact the state's annual fall spectacle. However, forest commissioner Mike Snyder pointed out that Vermont avoided the severe drought southern New England saw this summer.

"We're breathing a sigh of relief," Snyder said of avoiding the worst of the Northeasts' drought conditions.

Snyder added that red tones actually seem more plentiful in years with little rain.

As the colors on Vermont's hillsides keep emerging, Matt Benedetto said he will keep documenting them. His footage and photos will never fade, even after the leaves fall.

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