Christmas tree harvesting is back in full swing this year in national forests throughout the state after Christmas tree harvests were stifled last year due to record wildfires and COVID-19 restrictions.
Parts of the Pike & San Isabel National Forests have opened their season on a staggered schedule for families to start hunting for the perfect tree, with permits ranging between $10 and $20 depending on the respective ranger districts, including the South Platte, Pikes Peak, South Park, Salida, Leadville and San Carlos ranger districts, according to the U.S. National Forest Service.
Tree hunters must be sure not to cut trees on private land, in wilderness areas, campgrounds or tree plantations. Families and individuals must also avoid cutting trees with paint or markers on them. Cutting trees within 100 feet of a waterway, road or trail is also prohibited, the Forest Service said.
Those searching for a tree can cut any species, although bristlecone pine is not recommended because they are often "sappy," the agency said.
Trees up to 15 feet tall or 6 inches in diameter can be cut within 6 inches from the ground. Densely forested areas are recommended for cutting trees as it will help the remaining trees grow with more space.
The Pikes Peak Ranger District's tree-cutting season will begin Friday, Nov. 26, and run until Dec. 15.
Sales from the permits go to supporting the forests, the Forest Service said.