The Saratoga Sun -

Christmas tree permits offered

 


Permits to cut Christmas trees on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests are now available at multiple locations in Colorado and Wyoming, according to a press release from the U.S. Forest Service.

Each permit costs $10 and allows for the cutting of one tree on National Forest System Lands. There is a limit of five permits per household. Trees must be for personal use, and cannot be resold. The permit must be clearly displayed around the stem of the tree before leaving the cutting area, the release says.

For the second consecutive year, the Every Kid in a Park (EKiP) initiative is offering one free Christmas tree permit to fourth-graders that have a valid EKiP pass.  Vouchers for an EKiP pass can be obtained at http://www.everykidinapark.gov. In order to obtain the free Christmas tree permit, bring your fourth-grader to one of the District offices listed below and present their EKiP pass or voucher. The free Christmas tree permits are not available at locations other than U.S. Forest Service District offices.

Some areas of the Forest are off limits to tree cutting or may be difficult to access, the release warns. Please contact the Ranger District in the area where you will be cutting your tree for site-specific information, including road status and area restrictions.

The Forest Service emphasizes that cutting trees is prohibited in all Wilderness areas on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests. Additionally, tree cutting is not allowed in any part of the Pole Mountain Unit of the Laramie Ranger District.

The threat of falling trees increases as snow starts to weigh down branches, so forest visitors are reminded to pay attention to weather forecasts, avoid beetle-kill areas on high wind days, be aware of their surroundings, and check maps to know their location. Weather conditions can change quickly, so be prepared. Dress for winter conditions and have your vehicle prepared and equipped.

Christmas tree cutting has taken place on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests for many decades and there remains an abundance of young trees for visitors to obtain. Tree cutting regulations have been established to maintain a healthy forest environment and sustainable forest management program.

There are some regulations to remember when cutting your tree, however.

Trees may not be cut within 100 feet of roads or within 200 feet of campgrounds, picnic areas, scenic pullouts, administrative sites, timber sale areas or designated Wilderness areas.  Distances may be greater for state highways and scenic byways, so contact district offices for details.

Visitors are encouraged to choose a tree that is growing with other trees in a cluster and not choose the “perfect” tree that stands alone. The forest environment benefits by thinning the clusters and allowing the strong trees to remain and provide for a healthy genetic source for the future forest.

Maximum tree height is 20 feet and maximum tree diameter is six inches.

Cut the tree to a stump height of six inches or less, or below the lowest living branch, whichever is lower. If one living branch is left on the stump, the tree will continue to grow, although it will probably become deformed and encourage disease.

If only boughs are wanted, please choose a taller tree than needed (minimum 20 feet) and use just the lower branches for boughs. Please do not cut boughs from other living trees.

For more information and alternate sales locations, such as select Bureau of Land Management and Chamber of Commerce offices, contact your local Forest Service office or visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mbr/christmastrees.

Your local Forest Service sales location is:

Brush Creek-Hayden

Ranger District Office

Hours:

Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (closed 12-1 p.m.)

2171 State Highway 130

Saratoga, Wyoming

(307-326-5258)

At the Annual Community Open House in early December, a selection of cut trees will be available for purchase with a permit at the District office.

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