Permits for cutting Christmas trees on the Gila National Forest will again be available at all Ranger District offices starting Monday, November 25, 2013.
For this year’s Christmas tree cutting period, the public can start purchasing the permits four days earlier than normal. By providing the additional service to Christmas tree gatherers, families can obtain their permit and cut the family Christmas tree during the Thanksgiving holiday along with any visiting family or friends and avoid the after Thanksgiving Day rush.
Permits sell for $5.00 each with a limit of one permit per household; or free permits are available for the aromatic piñon trees. Any tree species up to 10’ high may be cut.
A Christmas tree tag, an information sheet on cutting regulations, and maps of designated cutting sites are included with the permits. To protect forest resources, tree cutting activities are not allowed within wilderness areas, riparian (river and stream) areas, and areas within 200’ of paved roads and developed recreation sites.
It is advisable for harvesters to check with local Ranger Districts for road and weather conditions prior to going into the forest. During this time of year, the weather can be unpredictable with rain or snow storms making dirt roads muddy, snow packed, or impassable. Forest users are also asked to respect forest and private lands, dispose of litter in trashcans or “pack it out”, and close all forest gates after passing through them.
Forest offices are open Monday through Friday (except on holidays) from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; the Black Range Ranger District is open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Contact the local ranger district offices for further information on Christmas tree cutting.