Southern Ohio#039;s beauty bursts onto display

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 29, 2004

Driving through Lawrence County and southern Ohio in the fall opens travelers' eyes to a a kaleidoscopic collage of colors often only

found in a box of Crayola Crayons.

Sunburst yellow, scarlet red, burnt orange - and every shade and hue in between await visitors.

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For nearly 40 years, Tom Eaches has been immersed in the beauty of the forest area that he believes is second to none.

"It is simply beautiful and I have been here looking at it for a long time," said Eaches, recreation director for the Ironton district of the Wayne National Forest. "You would have a hard time finding anywhere prettier."

Eaches encourages visitors to come see for themselves - but added that they better do it soon because Mother Nature won't wait forever.

"This weekend and next weekend is probably the peak time," he said, adding that brochures for self-guided tours are available at the ranger office. "If you want all the different colors, this is the best time."

Ohio has 74 state parks, 20 state forests and 128 nature preserves but the southern tip of the state provides enthusiasts much fall foliage to enjoy.

Viviane Khounlavong, director of Lawrence County's Convention & Visitors Bureau, helps people nurture their passion for the outdoors. Every fall, the driving tours increase, especially along the Ohio River's scenic byways.

"Southern Ohio and especially

Lawrence County is one of the most beautiful areas you can come across in the whole state," Khounlavong said. "When someone calls, I always tell them to visit the Wayne National Forest. The drive out through Pedro is beautiful anyway."

Better hurry though because each gust of wind and cold blast of air brings winter ever closer.