Christmas tree permits go on sale this week
With just over a week before Thanksgiving, the holidays are right around the corner and with them the tradition of getting a Christmas tree.
Public lands opening this week for Christmas tree cutting include the Pine Nuts, Clan Alpine and Desatoya mountains in Nevada, and the El Dorado Forest and Lake Tahoe Management Unit in the Sierra.
Tree cutting permits for the Bureau of Land Management Carson City District go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 15. Those allow Christmas tree cutters to take a piñon or juniper tree on designated lands.
Permits on the Carson and Bridgeport Ranger Districts of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest went on sale Nov. 1.
Permits for Lake Tahoe and the El Dorado Forest go on sale Monday, Nov. 13.
Tree cutters should be prepared with warm clothing, first aid kit, extra food and water, heavy rope or chain, shovel and tire chains, in the event of bad road conditions or inclement weather, according to officials. Some cutting areas may be inaccessible after snowfall, so it is advisable to cut trees early in the season.
Lake Tahoe permit holders may choose from a variety of pine, fir or cedar trees up to 6 inches in diameter at the base in designated cutting areas.
Trees must be cut on the forest where the permit was purchased.
Permits must be purchased in person, are not transferable and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Permits will be issued during regular business hours until noon on Dec. 22, and on the El Dorado National Forest through Dec. 28. In order to accommodate military families and others who may need to celebrate a delayed Christmas, cutting under these permits will be allowed until Dec. 31.
Cutting a Christmas tree offers a traditional holiday experience, while helping to thin the forest of excessive smaller trees, which helps to reduce excess vegetation that can feed a wildland fire, and create a healthier forest over time, according to the Forest Service, which offered the following guidance for selecting a tree.
■ Use the ruler provided on the tag to ensure that your tree is 6 inches or less in diameter at the base.
■ Select a tree that is within 10 feet of another green tree. Do not remove the top of the tree, cut down the entire tree and leave a stump that is 6 inches or less above the ground.
■ Scatter all discarded branches away from roads, ditches and culverts. Attach the tag to the tree before leaving the cutting area.
■ Maps are provided at the time of permit purchase. Permit holders should follow permit guidelines for responsible collection, including not trespassing on private property when entering or leaving national forest cutting areas.
■ Observe seasonal road closures and be prepared to hike to the cutting area to find a tree. No off-road travel is allowed. Park in legal areas and do not block gates. ■ Weather conditions in the mountains are unpredictable and travel during winter storm weather can be dangerous due to wet and/or icy roads. In addition, winds may cause branches or trees to fall.
■ Visitors should avoid cutting on wet, windy days. Check the weather before heading out and tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Dress appropriately for cold weather conditions and be prepared for ice and snow. Carry tire chains and a shovel and bring emergency supplies, including water, food, extra blankets and a first-aid kit.
■ Mobile devices may not work in some areas. Develop an emergency plan in case you cannot call for help.
Visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/ChristmasTreePermits for more information.