Many treasured childhood memories involve getting bundled up in jackets, boots, hats and mittens and tromping through a snow-covered forest with family members on a mission to pick out the perfect Christmas tree.
The White River National Forest is allowing families to continue this holiday tradition by issuing Christmas tree permits on local forestlands.
“Most all of us live busy lives — and it’s a chance to get outside and have some fun being out with your family picking a tree,” said Bill Kight, White River National Forest public affairs officer. “It builds a lot of neat memories, at least it has for my family.”
Personal-use Christmas tree tags will be available from ranger district offices of the White River National Forest starting Friday, Nov. 22. Permits issued by the Dillon Ranger District in Silverthorne won’t be available until Monday, Nov. 25.
Christmas tree cutting is allowed in most areas in the White River National Forest, with the exception of wilderness, commercial timber, recreation, administrative and ski areas, and Glenwood Canyon.
“There are certain areas where other activities are going on and (cutting trees down) would interfere with those activities,” Kight said. “You don’t want stumps in forests where the purpose is for recreation or scenic qualities.”
Trees must not be cut within 100 feet of any road.
Maps showing where Christmas tree cutting is allowed are available at all offices where permits are sold.
“It’s a good opportunity to visit the local ranger district and tie in with people who know a lot about the land,” Kight said.
Permits are $10, with a maximum of five permits per person.
“It’s a pretty good deal for $10, if you go for an artificial tree it’s going to cost you a bit more and you won’t have nearly as much fun picking it out,” Kight said.
Permit tags must be attached to the tree prior to cutting and must be left on the tree until it arrives at its final destination.
The Forest Service is asking individuals to follow guidelines when selecting their tree.
Trees must be less than 15 feet tall from the stump, may not be greater than 6 inches in diameter at the base of the tree, and the stump height should be no greater than 6 inches.
Kight said when he looks for a Christmas tree with his family, he tries to choose one that is clumped in with other trees, to help thin the forest.
Overall, Kight said, the regulations are pretty straightforward and simple to follow.
The Dillon Ranger District office, at 680 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne, is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m. For more information, contact the office at (970) 468-5400.