Hunting for that perfect Christmas tree locally |

Hunting for that perfect Christmas tree locally

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun JJ Thomas ties down a Christmas tree to the top of his vehicle after a recent trip to Blackwood Canyon.

Whether it be a long-time family tradition or just a spur of the moment decision to save a little money, cutting one’s own Christmas tree can be a great way to spend time outdoors and find that perfect tree for the holiday season.In the past, Truckee residents who wanted to cut their own tree had to travel out of the area to either the Plumas, Humboldt-Toiyabe or Eldorado National Forests where Christmas tree cutting was allowed. However, this year it’ll be much easier as the U.S. Forest Service is once again issuing 1,500 tree cutting permits in the Tahoe Basin.

“The Forest Service is doing it for a number reasons,” said Gay Eitel, an information assistant for the service. “The main one is to allow people to have the fun and excitement of getting their own tree. And what underlies what’s good for the Forest Service is it’s a chance for us to thin the forest of small trees that add to the fire danger.”This is the second year that Christmas tree harvesting will be allowed in the Tahoe Basin, and Eitel thinks that they will get close to selling all of the 1,500 permits available.

The Forest Service has already sold more than the 734 permits sold last year, and Eitel said that all of the people she has issued permits to have been very excited.”There are a lot of returnees from last year and a lot of people who did it as children and want to give their children or grandchildren the opportunity,” she said.

Permits cost $10 and only one permit will be issued per residence. Expect to get a brochure explaining which trees can be cut and how to cut the tree without damaging the rest of the forest. A map that shows areas trees can be harvested is also provided.On the North Shore of Lake Tahoe there are large swaths along the Fibreboard Freeway where tree cutting is allowed this year as well as areas around Ward Creek Blvd. and Blackwood Canyon Road.Permits can be picked up Thursday through Sunday at the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce in Tahoe City (next to the Fire Station) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or all week at the Forest Service office in South Lake Tahoe during regular business hours. For more information please call the U.S. Forest Service at 543-2694.

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