Friday, November 25, 2005
Steamboat Springs Christmas tree permits are available at Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest regional offices for $10. Each permit allows the cutting of one tree on national forest land. There is a limit of five permits a household, and trees must be for personal use, not resale.
Forest Service officials warn that some areas may be hard to reach or closed to tree-cutting. Closed areas include Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat Ski Area and a portion of the Yampa Ranger District within 300 yards of Forest Road 900 in the Bear River corridor.
"That's the road that goes up to Stillwater Reservoir in the Flat Tops," said Wendy Holden, visitor information officer with the Forest Service. "You can't cut on that road."
Cutting also is prohibited on designated wilderness areas, including the Flat Tops, Mount Zirkel, Rawah, Neota and Never Summer.
Cutting a tree without a permit could result in a citation, fines or possibly a trip to federal court in Grand Junction, Holden said.
Tree-cutting is encouraged in the Yampa District near Forest Road 100, which runs from Gore Pass to Rabbit Ears Pass. That area needs to be thinned, Holden said. Forests benefit when tree clusters are thinned and stronger trees are allowed to remain, providing a healthy genetic source for future trees.
Holden warned that people cutting their own trees should not expect perfection.
U.S. Forest Service:Hahns Peak/Bears Ears District Office, 925 Weiss Drive, Steamboat Springs, (970) 879-1870. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.Yampa District Office 300 Roselawn St., Yampa, (970) 638-4516. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. On Fridays, Dec. 2 through Dec. 23, the Yampa office will stay open until 6 p.m. It also will be open from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 3.Parks district offices:100 Main St., Walden, (970) 723-8204. Open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.2103 E. Park Ave., Kremmling, (970) 724-3000. Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
"It really is kind of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree program," Holden said. "Perfect Christmas trees grow on tree farms -- these are more natural looking."
About 1,300 permits are sold in Steamboat every year.
Holden said helpful tools include a small shovel for digging around the tree and a tarp to slide the tree onto so branches keep their needles.
"And then, of course, the hot chocolate," she said.