Forest Service doubles cost of Christmas tree cutting permit | SkyHiNews.com

Forest Service doubles cost of Christmas tree cutting permit

A pair of Grand County residents drag a freshly cut Christmas tree through the snow near Idleglen Staging Area. The cost of a Christmas tree cutting permits was doubled this year by the US Forest Service, climbing from $10 to $20.

This year's holiday season could end up being a bit more costly for anyone looking to cut down a Christmas tree in the Arapaho National Forest.

U.S. Forest Service announced plans to move ahead with a proposal to double the cost of Christmas tree cutting permits for the Arapaho, Roosevelt and Pike National Forests in Colorado. The fee, which was set at $10 for more than two decades, was increased to $20 this year.

Fees help cover the cost of plowing roads and parking areas, so people can get closer to places where they might find desirable trees; providing maps, signs and information to visitors; offering portable restrooms onsite; providing on-site permit sales; offering enhancements like warming stations; and providing safety and security patrols so that at the end of the day everyone goes home safe, according to Katherine Armstrong, spokesperson for the Arapaho National Forest.

"The cost of providing these services has increased substantially since the last fee increase in 1992," Armstrong said.

A multi-month public comment period followed the fee increase proposal announcement last year where over 600 citizens commented on the proposed increase. According to officials from the Forest Service, public comments on the proposal showed "overwhelming support for the program and the proposed fee increase."

"We would like to thank the 660 people who took time to comment and provide feedback on our Christmas tree program," said Monte Williams, forest supervisor for the Forest Service. "More than 80 percent of comments supported an increase in price to continue providing the enhanced services that make the events safer and more enjoyable for visitors."

This year's Christmas tree cutting season kicked off Nov. 1 in Grand County when permits went on sale at the Sulphur Ranger District Ranger Station in Granby, as well as at multiple local vendors.

Anyone looking to cut down a Christmas tree in Grand County has several different options.

Christmas trees can be cut down at the Elk Creek Cutting Area near Fraser and Winter park from Dec. 1 to Dec. 8. During those days, Forest Service staffers and volunteers will be on site to assist citizens by providing maps and safety information. Roads and parking areas in the cutting area will be plowed and portable restrooms will be available. Permits for the Elk Creek Cutting Area must be purchased ahead of time.

Tree hunters can also opt to cut a tree down within most of the larger Arapaho National Forest, though cutting is prohibited within the Fraser Experimental Forest, the Arapaho National Recreation Area or within any wilderness area such as the Byers Peak Wilderness or the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The Forest Service requires that anyone engaging in Christmas tree cutting activities use a vehicle with four-wheel drive or snow chains. Chainsaws are prohibited and tree hunters should instead use manual bow saws.

The Forest Service also recommends that all tree hunters be properly equipped for the endeavor with winter clothing, booths, work gloves, eye protection, tarps, rope and string along with personal items such as snacks, water and hot drinks.

WHERE TO BUY A PERMIT

Sulphur Ranger District Office*

9 Ten Mile Drive, Granby

970-887-4100

*Weekdays only

Country Ace Hardware

627 W. Agate, Granby

970-887-3395

Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply

541 Zerex St., Fraser

970-726-2029

Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce

14700 U.S. Highway 34, Grand Lake

970-627-3402

Winter Park – Fraser Chamber of Commerce

78967 U.S. Highway 40, Winter Park

1-800-903-7275

Fireside Market & Eatery

78337 U.S. Highway 40

970-363-7750

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.