Harvest your own wild Christmas tree

Cedar, pine and fir trees are available for collection as Christmas trees to those who purchase a permit from the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management.

The Forest Service offers Jeffrey pine, white fir and incense cedar permits, while BLM is handling access to the lower-altitude pi-on pine.

"Personally, where I was raised, we only had the pi-on pine so I would try the other options," said Maggie Helming, an information assistant with the Forest Service. "Also, the pi-on pine dries out really fast."

Permits for a pi-on cost only $5; Jeffrey pine, white fir and incense cedar permits are $10.

There are 3,500 $10 permits at the Forest Service. Permits are good in the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest in three designated areas: the Dog Valley area between Bordertown and Verdi, along Wolf Creek in the Leviathan Mine area, and at Burnside Lake west of the Blue Lakes area.

"Dog Valley is a really beautiful area. It's popular with the Reno folks," said Helming. "In the Blue Lakes area, if it snows, you have to snow shoe or ski (in) because they close the gates."

According to Laura Williams, public affairs officer for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest's Carson Ranger District, cutting is allowed in those areas because trees were replanted after timber harvests or fires.

"All the trees in these areas are the same age, and we need to keep them thinned down," she said.

Pi-on pine permits from BLM are good in these locations: the Pine Nut Mountains between Carson City and Yerington, Clan Alpine and Desatoya mountains east of Fallon, and the Excelsior Mountains south of Hawthorne.

All tree cutters must bring their own saws, and the Forest Service and BLM recommend they also bring warm clothing, a first-aid kit, heavy rope or chain, extra food, water, tire chains and a shovel. Cutters are encouraged to gather trees early in the season because access to some areas can be cut off by snowfall.

Last year, all 3,000 permits were sold so this year, the number available was increased by 500, according to Williams. On Friday, the first day the Forest Service sold permits, more than 110 were sold.

All permits are nonrefundable, and there is a limit of two permits per household.

"Most people wait until after Thanksgiving," Helming said.

-- For information call the Carson Ranger District at 882-2766 or BLM Carson City Field Office at 885-6000.


What: Harvest your own Christmas tree

When: Through Dec. 25

Where: Designated Forest Service and BLM lands

Cost: $5 from BLM, $10 from Forest Service

Call: Carson Ranger District at 882-2766 or BLM Carson City Field Office at 885-6000

Tree tips

-- If out cutting a tree do not become too greedy. Trees are a lot bigger than they look, so check the height and width against the space where you will put it. People sometimes cut trees two times as big as they want.

-- Always trim the bottom and at first immerse trunk in a bucket of water.

-- Let it absorb water before putting it in the tree stand.

-- Continue to keep well watered, once the water is gone the tree shuts down and can't take in more water. It's then a tree becomes a fire hazard.

-- A tree that is dropping needles is one you don't want.

Source: Kathy Rosten, Lowe's Home Improvement Center


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