Christmas tree permits now on sale

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Christmas tree permits are now available at all Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest offices in Colorado and Wyoming, according to a release from the U.S. Forest Service.

Each permit, which costs $10, allows for the cutting of one tree on National Forest System Lands. There is a limit of five permits per household, according to the release.

Trees must be for personal use, not for resale. The permit must be clearly displayed around the stem of the tree before leaving the cutting area, according to the Forest Service.

Some areas of the Forest are closed to tree cutting or may be difficult to access, so contact the local Forest Service office for specific site information, including the status of roads. The Forest Service emphasized that wilderness areas — Flat Tops, Mount Zirkel, Rawah, Neota and Never Summer — are off limits to tree cutting, the Forest Service reported in the release.

The Forest Service warns that weather conditions can change quickly and preparation is important.

The Forest Service offers the following regulations when cutting a tree:

• 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.

• Choose a tree that is growing with other trees in a cluster. Do 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.

• Cut trees six inches or less above the ground, 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 boughs are wanted, choose a taller tree than needed (maximum 20 feet) and use the lower branches for boughs. Do not cut boughs from other living trees.

For more information, call the Forest Service office at 870-2299.

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