South Peace News
A shortage of Christmas trees for sale in many local lots may inspire more people to pick out their special tree in a nearby forest.
Permits to cut down a tree for Christmas are available from Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development.
“What many don’t realize is it is also one of the most economical holiday traditions,” says Leah Lovequist, wildfire information officer for Slave Lake Forest Area.
“To cut you own Christmas tree from Alberta public forests, you simply need a Personal Use Forest Products Permit [PUFPP].”
A permit allows a person to harvest up to three Christmas trees from designated areas on Crown land.
Each tree must be less than 2.5 metres or about eight feet tall.
A permit is free and can be obtained online.
“A permit is strictly for personal use, with no resale allowed,” Love- quist says.
“You will need to have a screenshot, emailed or printed copy of your permit with you at all times when harvesting and transporting your Christmas trees.”
New interactive maps or PDF maps will help people find a specific location.
Trees cannot be cut within 30 metres of a stream or river, and within 100 metres of a lake.
“You cannot harvest a Christmas tree from facilities such as roadside turnouts, viewpoints or recreation areas or campgrounds.”
Harvesting a Christmas tree in Alberta provincial parks and recreation areas is strictly prohibited and carries a hefty fine, Lovequist advises.
She urges everyone to be safe in the forest while harvesting a Christmas tree.
“Let someone know when you are heading out, where you plan to cut and what time you plan to be back.”
Cellphone service can be unreliable in forested areas and weather conditions can be hazardous, she adds.
“Take extra winter clothing and emergency supplies.”
She also reminds people to respect the forest.
“We can all be good stewards of our forests while enjoying its gifts,” Lovequist says.
“Getting your permit and following the guidelines helps us ensure that we can preserve our forests for generations to come by keeping a record of the number of trees harvested from Crown land and protecting sensitive areas.”
For more information, or to obtain a PUFPP to cut your own Christmas tree, go online to alberta.ca/tree-cutting.aspx.