Visit a national forest! Georgia’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is said to be a hiker’s paradise. Winding trails lead visitors through scenic mountains and rolling hills, by wild rushing rivers and cascading waterfalls. The land is rich in history and has something for everyone. The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest provides the finest outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resources in Georgia. Featuring nearly 118,000 acres of designated Wilderness, hundreds of miles of clear-running streams and rivers, approximately 850 miles of recreation trails, and dozens of campgrounds, picnic areas, and other recreation activity opportunities, these lands are rich in natural scenery, history and culture. Be sure to check out the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests’ website. It features pictures of the beautiful color transformations of the fall season.

A walk in the forest is beneficial to your health. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference (AAAS), living close to parks and other green spaces is essential to our physical, psychological and social well-being. “Nature calms people and it also helps them psychologically rejuvenate. They are better able to handle challenges which come their way,” said Prof Frances Kuo, from the University of Illinois, who led a review of studies into the effects of trees and parklands. Thank goodness for the USDA Forest Service whose mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

On a less local level the ultimate in tree-viewing and appreciation takes place in California’s Redwood National Forest, home of the tallest trees on Earth. Technically known as Sequoia sempervirens, Redwood is a rapidly growing tree, and some individual trees have been measured at more than 360 feet in height, making it the tallest measured tree species on the earth. In favorable situations, trees 20 years old may average 50 feet in height and 8 inches in diameter. Average mature trees are from 200 to 240 feet high with diameters of 10 to 15 feet at 4 feet 8 inches above the ground. Exceptional individuals sometimes reach a height of 350 feet, a diameter of over 20 feet, and an age of approximately 2000 years. What a spectacular site. Before it gets too cold and the winter weather keeps you indoors, enjoy the sweet beauty and benefits of visiting a national forest!