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Christmas tree permits available from Forest Service

by Western News
| November 15, 2009 11:00 PM

Personal-use permits to harvest Christmas trees are now available from the U.S. Forest Service.

The $5 permits can be obtained at all Kootenai National Forest offices with a limit of three trees per household. A permit is required for each tree.

The Forest Service asks those in search of a Christmas tree to respect the following guidelines:

• Avoid cutting trees along major routes, in plantations, campgrounds or other well-used areas.

• Respect private property; consult Forest Service maps to accurately identify national forest land.

• Do not cut in areas posted as closed to Christmas tree cutting or in contract areas.

• Cut the size of tree desired. Do not select a large tree intending to take the top only.

• Cut the stump as low as possible, no higher than eight inches above the ground.

• Clear all limbs, trimmings and debris from roadways and ditches.

• Think “safety” with axe or power saw.

In addition, forest officials urge people to drive carefully on forest roads. Roads may be muddy, icy or snowpacked. In places, the road may be shared with logging traffic. Motorists should take along a shovel and emergency winter survival gear when heading out for Christmas trees.

Once the tree is taken home, place the base in water and store in a cool place. Take extra precautions when setting up the tree by checking tree lights and wiring for worn spots and cracks.

For more information, call or stop by a Forest Service office. The supervisor’s office and ranger stations also have maps that show road access and identify national forest lands.