Lake Tahoe Basin Christmas tree permits go on sale Monday
In a sure sign that the holidays are right around the corner, area land-management agencies recently announced plans for upcoming Christmas tree sales.
Both the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) and the Eldorado National Forest (ENF) will begin the sale of Christmas tree permits on Monday, Nov. 13, according to a press release. Permit holders may choose from a variety of pine, fir or cedar trees up to 6 inches in diameter at the base in designated cutting areas.
Trees must be cut on the forest where the permit was purchased (the ENF is south and west of the Lake Tahoe Basin, on the West Slope).
Permits must be purchased in person, are not transferable and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, according to LTBMU. Permits will be issued during regular business hours on the LTBMU until noon on Dec. 22, and on the ENF through Dec. 28. In order to accommodate military families and others who may need to celebrate a delayed Christmas, cutting under these permits will be allowed until Dec. 31.
In support of the Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) program, the LTBMU and the ENF 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 obtain a permit and when cutting a tree under the EKIP program.
Visit http://www.everykidinapark.gov for information about the program and to obtain a student voucher. Then visit any participating LTBMU or ENF office and present the printed voucher in person along with a parent or guardian to obtain a Christmas tree permit.
Permits will be sold in the following locations (all offices are closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day):
Permits cost $10 each, with a limit of two per family or address. These permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis with a forest limit of 2,250 permits total. Weather permitting, the following forest roads will remain open to improve access to cutting areas: Fountain Place Road to the first parking area, at the end of Oneidas Street (1201), Big Meadow Trailhead parking area (1213) and Barker Pass Road up to the OHV campground (03).
Forest Supervisor’s office, 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe. This office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 530-543-2600.
North Lake Tahoe Visitor Center, 100 North Lake Blvd, Tahoe City. This office is open from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily. For more information, call 530-581-6900. (cash or check only, no credit cards)
Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau, 969 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village. Permits will be sold at this location on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 8:30 until 4 p.m. (cash or check only)
Permits cost $10 each (cash only), with a limit of four permits per family or address. These permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis with a forest limit of 4,500 permits total.
Forest Supervisor’s office, 100 Forni Road, Placerville. This office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and the following Saturdays: Nov. 18 and 25, Dec. 2 and 9, from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Amador Ranger District, 26820 Silver Drive, Pioneer. This office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and the following Saturdays: Nov. 18 and 25, Dec. 2 and 9, from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Georgetown Ranger District, 7600 Wentworth Springs Road, Georgetown. This office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and the following weekends: Nov. 18, 19, 25 and 26, and Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Pacific Ranger District, 7887 U.S. Highway 50, Pollock Pines. This office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Placerville Ranger District, 4260 Eight Mile Road, Camino. This office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Cutting a Christmas tree offers a traditional holiday experience, while helping to thin the forest of excessive smaller trees, which helps to reduce excess vegetation that can feed a wildland fire, and create a healthier forest over time, according to the Forest Service, which offered the following guidance for selecting a tree.
Use the ruler provided on the tag to ensure that your tree is 6 inches or less in diameter at the base.
Select a tree that is within 10 feet of another green tree. Do not remove the top of the tree, cut down the entire tree and leave a stump that is 6 inches or less above the ground.
Scatter all discarded branches away from roads, ditches and culverts. Attach the tag to the tree before leaving the cutting area.
Maps are provided at the time of permit purchase. Permit holders should follow permit guidelines for responsible collection, including not trespassing on private property when entering or leaving national forest cutting areas.
Observe seasonal road closures and be prepared to hike to the cutting area to find a tree. No off-road travel is allowed. Park in legal areas and do not block gates.
It is important to remember that weather conditions in the mountains are unpredictable and travel during winter storm weather can be dangerous due to wet and/or icy roads. In addition, winds may cause branches or trees to fall.
Visitors should avoid cutting on wet, windy days. Check the weather before heading out and tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Dress appropriately for cold weather conditions and be prepared for ice and snow. Carry tire chains and a shovel and bring emergency supplies, including water, food, extra blankets and a first-aid kit.
Keep in mind, mobile devices may not work in some areas. Develop an emergency plan in case you cannot call for help.
Visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/ChristmasTreePermits for more information.