‘The kids’ business:’ Truckee Boy Scouts haul in 540 trees to support troop

Scout Troop 267 hauled in roughly 540 trees from areas around Tahoe Donner as its main fundraiser of the year.
“These trees were just going to the wood chipper. Tahoe Donner had an area that they were getting ready to treat so it was perfect,” said Scoutmaster Dan Kates.

With sap covered clothes and sore legs, a group of 16 youngsters from Truckee’s Boy Scout Troop 267 make the last trips of hauling roughly 540 trees from areas around Tahoe Donner.

The trees were within the Tahoe Donner Forestry Department, and otherwise would have been destined for a wood chipper. Instead, they will spend the next few weeks covered in lights and ornaments while providing funding for the next year of activities and opportunities for Truckee’s local troop.

“These trees were just going to the wood chipper. Tahoe Donner had an area that they were getting ready to treat, so it was perfect,” said Scoutmaster Dan Kates, who has volunteered with the organization for the past five years. “It’s really the kids’ business. They’re out in the woods, selecting which trees to cut, they haul them back to the road and get them on the truck …. They’re very much involved. It’s a great lesson for them.”

Kates said volunteers and the troop cut down roughly 100 more trees than last year due to an expected shortage from farms in Oregon. Usually, the troop gets 100 farm trees from Oregon, according to Kates, but this year the organization is only expecting around 30 trees.

Funds raised from selling trees go toward getting local Scouts on whitewater rafting trips, rock climbing lessons, mountain biking, skiing, backpacking, becoming SCUBA certified, and more.

“It provides incredible opportunities for these kids,” said Kates. “We’re one of the best kept secrets in town. These kids get to do all these things at very low cost. The tree lot funds almost all of it.”

Troop 267’s Christmas tree lot is located at the east side of Mountain Hardware and Sports parking lot in Truckee, 11320 Donner Pass Road. The Boy Scouts will be selling trees from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, and weekends from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., “until we run out of trees,” said Kates.

For information on joining Troop 267, which hosts youngsters from ages 11 to 17, email

Additionally, local Scout groups will be participating in a Toys for Tots fundraiser on Wednesday at CVS Pharmacy in Truckee.


For roughly five years, the Truckee Optimist Club has sold Christmas trees to support children in Truckee, raising around $30,000 annually.

Like the local Boy Scout Troop, the Truckee Optimist Club anticipated around 100 fewer trees coming in from farms in Oregon. To fill the gap, volunteers harvested around 250 trees from the U.S. Forest Service and Sierra Pacific Industries.

Funding from Christmas tree sales goes toward local sports, music, boys and girls’ Scout troops, scholarships, student field trips, and other programs.

“This goes to keeping our budget moving forward, especially after losing two brew fests in a row, and we lost the air show two years in a row,” said Christmas Tree Chair Dan O’Gorman.

Typically, the Truckee Optimist Club relies on a pair of brew fest events and the Truckee Tahoe Air Show & Family Festival as its main fundraising events of the year.

O’Gorman said he expects Christmas trees to sell out around Dec. 22. The Truckee Optimist Club offers drive-thru and phone orders at 11329 Deerfield Drive. Those buying trees can expect to give the type and size of tree they prefer, pay from their car, have the tree selected, cut and trimmed by volunteers, and then loaded into their vehicle. Lot hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Dec. 23. For prices and tree sizes, visit


The Villager Nursery in Truckee also offers Christmas trees for sale in Truckee, but according to co-owner Rob Van Dyke, demand has been down, something he attributes to the lack of early-season snow.

“Normally, if we had a little more snow and the resorts are open, we might see a little more traffic,” said Van Dyke.

Aside from Christmas trees, the Villager Nursery also provides holiday fare for decorating in and outside of the house.

“We carry a lot more the accouterments here — garland, wreaths, poinsettias, ornaments, and all that sort of stuff,” added Van Dyke.

The Villager Nursery, 10678 Donner Pass Road, is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

Christmas tree permits within the Lake Tahoe Basin sold out in just more than an hour on Nov. 17, but trees are still available at locations within the Truckee Ranger District, and nearby, in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

“Our permits did sell out really fast,” said Lisa Herron, public affairs specialist for the Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “I recommend Taylor Creek Snow Park (day permit needed), Sawmill Pond, and if people go to Cold Creek Trail — that’s a big area there that probably has lots of trees and it’s outside the fire perimeter.”

Herron added that the number of permits allowed was impacted by the Caldor Fire.

“I think people will still have luck finding them — just go to a new area this time, try something new.”

For tree cutting permits, visit

Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

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