Forest Service proposes doubling Christmas tree permit fee
There are more than a few traditions that define Christmas and for many residents of Grand County trekking into the forest to cut down a Christmas tree is one such ritual, but the cost of finding and harvesting your own pine could double next year if the US Forest Service moves forward with plans to increase the cost of tree permits.
Earlier this year the US Forest Service announced a proposed fee change regarding the cost of Christmas tree cutting permits, doubling the fee from $10 to $20 in Grand COunty. The proposed fee increase pertains to both the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in north central Colorado. The Forest Service is seeking public comment on the topic and citizens have until Feb. 16 next year to make their opinions on the matter known to federal officials.
“For generations, families, and friends throughout Colorado have made cutting their own Christmas tree on a national forest a treasured holiday tradition and it also offers them an opportunity to be good stewards of their public lands,” a statement from the Forest Service reads.
The announcement from the Forest Service goes on to highlight the value of the program including impacts to local economies from visitors, tree thinning benefits, and the bonding experiences families have while going to cut down a tree. The announcement also highlights the services and amenities “that have made the Christmas tree cutting program so successful and effective”.
According to the Forest Service those services include plowing roads and parking areas, providing maps and visitor information, offering portable bathroom facilities, other enhancements such as warming stations, and providing safety and security.
“The cost of providing these services has increased substantially since the special recreation permit program first began more than two decades ago,” the announcement states. “The current $8-$10 permit no longer supports the cost of providing a high-quality visitor experience. In some areas services have been either cut back or eliminated just to continue offering the program. To continue providing a safe, convenient and enjoyable experience, the Forest Service would like to increase the cost of the Christmas tree permit to $20.”
To submit your comments about the proposal to the Forest Service go to the Arapaho National Forest’s homepage at http://www.fs.usda.gov/arp. Scroll down to find the “Features” subsection and click on Holiday Tree Cutting. On the following page locate the hyperlink reading “Comment here” to be taken to the official online comment submission page.
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