Tradition of tree-cutting alive in Northwest Colorado | CraigDailyPress.com

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Tradition of tree-cutting alive in Northwest Colorado

Number of permits issued to cut on public lands has nearly doubled in last year

By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
Tree cutting permits purchased this year have nearly doubled over 2000, indicating to land management officials that more people are taking the time to chop down their own Christmas trees this holiday season.
“People love to do it as a family thing,” said Jane Leche, the Front Range Christmas Tree Coordinator in Golden. “They also like to get together with friends and make a whole day out of it.”
People who go out and cut down their own trees are looking for something unique, Leche said.
“They’re not trees you would find in a lot,” she said. “People like to find the tree that speaks to them.”
Many tree hunters may not realize it, but they’re doing Mother Nature a service when they partake in this holiday tradition.
“These people are taking part in managing the National Forests,” she said. “There’s just too many trees. These are disturbance dependent forests.”
But there are rules that people must follow when looking for trees, said Wendy Holden, supervisor of visitor information services at the forest service in Steamboat Springs.
The first rule is that people purchase a $10 permit, which are sold at the Craig Chamber of Commerce.
One household can purchase up to five tree permits.
Those who chop down a tree without a permit, and are caught, get their tree confiscated along with a $75 fine.
Holden said people need to make sure they are on public land, at least 100 feet from a road or trail, and are 200 feet away from a recreation facility.
A tree trunk must be less than 6 inches in diameter, and the tree must be less than 20 feet tall.
Once the tree is cut, the stump left behind cannot be taller than six inches.
After the tree is cut, people should put the tag on it and securely load it onto their vehicle.
“People should figure out what public land they want to cut from before they go,” Holden said. “A rule of thumb is to speak to the office that administers that area.”
Last year the Chamber of Commerce sold 96 permits, so far this year it has sold 172.
Most people in Craig like to cut trees in the Elk Springs area, said Pam Golden, office automation assistant at the Bureau of Land Management.
Permits to cut down Pinion Junipers can be purchased at the BLM for $3.