Time for trees

"Oh Christmas Tree, of all the trees most lovely."

Be it a Nobel Fir or a combination of plastic and aluminum, many Americans enjoy some form of lighted displays and shining ornaments hanging from a real or artificial pine tree in their homes during the holiday season.

When selecting the seasonal display that will stand guard over presents for the Christmas celebration, the first decision to make is whether your tree will be real or artificial.

Those selecting a live tree must then decide between cutting it themselves or purchasing one from a local source.

Cutting your own tree can be a great deal of work, but it also carries rewards ranging from an all-day family adventure to a quick trip into the mountains.

Permits for cutting trees on public land can be obtained at the Bureau of Land Management, 455 Emerson Street in Craig, from 7:45 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The office has U.S. Forest Service permits for $10 and BLM permits for $5.

The forest service permits allow a person to cut a tree on National Forest property, including Black Mountain north of Craig, located in the Routt National Forest.

The forest service warns that some areas are difficult to access this time of year, and preparing for deep snow on Black Mountain is advisable.

Trees may not be cut within 100 feet of roads or within 200 feet of campgrounds, picnic areas or scenic pullouts.

Maximum tree height is 20 feet, and trees must be cut within 6 inches of the ground.

There is a limit of five trees per household with forest service permits, and trees are not for resale.

Cutting a tree on BLM land begins by obtaining a $5 permit from the field office and selecting a juniper or piñion to harvest.

The bureau asks that tree cutters ensure they are on public land and not in a Wilderness Study Area or an area of critical environmental concern.

The BLM has a limit of three trees per household.

Purchasing a pre-cut tree is as easy as driving to a number of Craig locations and selecting one.

Tunies and Such owner Bob Mackin received a shipment from Oregon in a refrigerated truck and displayed them in his greenhouse at 690 Yampa Ave.

He carries Fraser, Grand, Nobel and Douglas Firs, as well as Piñions and Balsams.

Mackin cuts the bottoms and displays the trees in a water-filled stand.

Trees are shaken to remove loose needles, and a one-time stand purchase allows quick swaps for a stand-mounted tree in following years.

Tunies and Such is open everyday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Craig Lion's Club is selling trees in the lot near the entrance to Kmart off of Victory Way.

The 5- to 10-foot trees include Douglas and Canaan firs, as well as Scotch Pines from Michigan.

Salespeople plan to be at the Lion's tree lot in the afternoons beginning next week and will stay until 8 p.m.

City Market has a selection of Fraser, Grand and Nobel Firs, ranging from $15 for a 4-foot Fraser to a 7-foot Nobel for $40.

They also carry boughs and wreaths, along with artificial trees.

Artificial trees have benefits of their own, especially if homeowners are leaving town for the holidays.

Rhonda and Shawn Graham drove to Craig from Steamboat Springs on Friday to shop for a tree in Kmart with 4-year-old Morgan and 2-year-old Taylor.

"We moved into a bigger house and needed a bigger tree," Rhonda said as they selected a tree in a box. "The nicest thing about an artificial tree is its size and shape, and you don't have to pay each year. It's an investment."

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