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Christmas tree permits to go on sale in Eldorado National Forest

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Sacramento's Falcon Lee creates a tree-full of handmade decorations every Christmas. Here, he shows off how to make a quick and easy ribbon angel.

People interested in trekking into the woods to search for just the right Christmas tree can purchase a permit to cut a tree in the Eldorado National Forest.

Christmas tree permits will go on sale Monday, allowing permit holders to choose from a variety of pine, fir or cedar trees up to 6 inches in diameter at the base in designated cutting areas, according to a U.S. Forest Service news release. Permits must be purchased in person, are not transferable and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. They will be issued during regular business hours through Dec. 28, with cutting allowed until Dec. 31 to accommodate military families and others who may face a delayed Christmas celebration.

“The experience of going out into the forest and finding a special tree for the holidays provides a personal connection to the land,” Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree said in a written statement. “This kind of connection helps people appreciate the many benefits their national forests provide.”

The Christmas tree cutting also helps thin the forest of an excess of smaller trees, creating a healthier forest over time, the news release said. Trees chosen must be 6 inches or less in diameter at the base and can be measured using a ruler provided on the tag. The tree should be within 10 feet of another green tree.

Maps showing designated cutting areas will be provided at the time the permit is purchased.

The Eldorado National Forest Christmas tree program allows one permit per family or household, with up to four tags per permit and a forest limit of 4,500 tags. The tags cost $10 each and must be paid for in cash.

  • The Forest Supervisor’s Office, 100 Forni Road, Placerville, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturdays Nov. 18 and 25, and Dec. 2 and 9.
  • Amador Ranger District, 26820 Silver Drive, Pioneer, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays Nov. 18 and 25, and Dec. 2 and 9.
  • Georgetown Ranger District, 7600 Wentworth Springs Road, Georgetown, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 18 through Dec. 10.
  • Pacific Ranger District, 7887 Highway 50, Pollock Pines, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.. Monday through Friday.
  • Placerville Ranger District, Eight Mile Road, Camino, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In support of the Every Kid in a Park, or EKIP program, the Eldorado National Forest will offer one free Christmas tree permit to fourth-grade students who present a valid paper voucher or durable EKIP pass. The student must be present to receive a tag and when cutting the tree under the EKIP program. For information about the program and to obtain a student voucher, see the program website, www.everykidinapark.gov.

In addition to Christmas trees, permits are available through the timber program for other forest products, including fuel wood, edible plants, decorative floral greens, cones, mushrooms, boughs, rocks and poles.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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