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Christmas tree cutting permits available next week

Grandfather and small girl getting a Christmas tree in forest. Copy space.
Halfpoint
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Adobe Stock
Forests in and around the Wasatch Back allow people to cut their own Christmas trees with permits, which become available this week.

As the holiday season approaches, cutting down a Christmas tree is one way to get into the spirit — and people can soon do that in forests in and around the Wasatch Back.

Cutting trees and plants in national forests requires permits. Those become available this week.

Permits to cut trees in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest are available starting Thursday and cost $20. They allow one tree per permit-holder.

This year, permits are free for 4th-graders if picked up in person. That requires either an online voucher or the standard national parks pass issued to 4th-graders.

Species of trees that can be cut include sub-alpine fir, white fir and lodgepole pine. Only trees under 20 feet tall can be cut.

In the Heber-Kamas Ranger District, people can buy permits in Kamas and Heber City. 6,000 tickets are available online and in person. Pick-up locations include the National Forest Service Kamas office, the National Forest Service Heber office, Mountainland One Stop in Heber and Mirror Lake Service Chevron in Kamas.

Brenda Bushel, a support service specialist for the Heber-Kamas Ranger District, says online permits sold out in two hours last year. The permits for sale in person took about a week to sell out.

She says some popular spots like Mirror Lake Highway are already closed due to winter conditions this year. And wherever people go, they should be careful and prepared.

“Right now, we have quite a bit of snow up along some of our forest service roads,” Bushel says. “People can go anywhere, it just is limited the longer they wait and the closer we get to Christmas due to snow.”

She says Highway 35 and areas around Strawberry Reservoir are other popular spots, even if getting there may require a snowmobile, horse, skis or snowshoes. Already this year, cars have slid off the road and had to be towed out. Bushel recommends people bring warm clothes, tire chains and tools for cutting down trees.

She encourages people not to cut trees directly along Mirror Lake Highway because it’s a scenic byway.

East of the Wasatch Back, Ashley National Forest began issuing permits Tuesday. They cost $15 and are also free for 4th-graders who pick them up in person.

Offices where they can do so are in and near Vernal, Duchesne and Flaming Gorge. Permits can also be purchased online starting Thursday but aren’t free for 4th-graders that way.

Forest Service offices are closed Friday for Veterans Day.

A map of Christmas tree cutting areas is available here:

A video demonstration of how to harvest a tree is available at this link.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.