Cutting trees promotes forest health | SierraSun.com

Cutting trees promotes forest health

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun
Alex Close/Sierra Sun
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North Shore and Truckee residents can take a piece of the forest home this holiday season.

To make this year’s holidays more memorable, and help with forest health in the Lake Tahoe Basin, residents can head into the snowy woods to cut down their own Christmas trees.

Clearing small trees out from under big trees allows for better health and helps to reduce fire danger, said Gay Eitel, U.S. Forest Service information assistant for Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

“Plus it’s a great way to make a family memory ” to go out and get a tree,” said Eitel.

While the Tahoe Basin Christmas tree program is only in its fourth year, other parts of the country have hosted similar tree cutting programs for years, Eitel said.

Other national forests in the greater area also provide cut-it-yourself Christmas tree opportunities, including Lassen, Mendocino, Plumas and Humboldt-Tolyabe national forests. However, the Tahoe National Forest, which is outside of the Basin, does not issue Christmas tree permits.

For further information on the permitting process and designated tree-cutting areas for each forest beyond the Lake Tahoe Basin, call their main offices or check out their Web sites.

Christmas trees have been the centerpiece of holiday tradition for many people since the 1500s, including decorations, placing gifts under the boughs and singing carols with the family.

Grab the dog, bundle up the kids and make your way into the snowy forest to create holiday memories and help with forest health in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Make your season just a little brighter and cut down your very own Christmas tree according to the following steps:

Step 1) Stop by the new North Tahoe Forest Service Office at 3080 North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City to get your $10 permit and a map of tree cutting areas. Permits will be available Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Dec. 23, or when the permit supply is exhausted.

Step 2) Visit one of the designated Christmas tree-cutting areas on the given map, including areas on Mount Rose, above Carnelian Bay and Agate Bay, in Tahoe City and all along the West Shore.

Step 3) Select a tree of your choice with a base of less than six inches in diameter and within 10 feet of another green tree. Using the saw you brought, cut your tree as close to the ground as possible.

Step 4) Lifting with your legs and not your back, carry your new tree to the car, tying it to the roof carefully with rope.

Step 5) At home, re-cut the trunk at an angle one to three inches above the original cut and add two tablets of aspirin to the water in the tree stand.

Step 6) Decorate with ornaments of your choice, lights or even popcorn strands, rock around the Christmas tree and store gifts under the boughs leaving room for Santa’s good wishes.