By Donna Westfall –
What could be more fun than taking the family out to cut down your own Christmas Tree?
But where to start? Is a permit required? Are there areas that are forbidden? What equipment should you take, afterall you don’t want to wind up in the National forest without a saw.
I started by calling the Agriculture Department at (707) 464 7235. They referred me to the Forest Service. I spoke with Ranger Mike at (707) 465 7335 and he said to call the Crescent City – Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce (C of C).
The C of C is located at 1001 Front Street in Crescent City. Their telephone # is (707) 464 3174. They issue permits for $10. And they give you a map of the area in the park where you can go to cut down your tree.
Are there any restrictions as to height or weight of the tree? Can you only cut one tree or do you need a permit to cut more than one? Are there things you should know before you go?
If you want to avoid a disaster like the 1989 film “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” then go prepared:
Dress appropriately and take essentials:
It’s getting colder. We’ve had bouts of rain and hail. Be sure to take enough layers to bundle up if it turns really cold. Winter coats, hats, gloves and boots are vital, as are water, snacks and a cellphone. Some areas may be out of cellphone coverage, so make sure you tell somebody where you will be before heading out.
Where to go and where not to go:
Do NOT go on private property!
You will be given a map by the C of C when you purchase your permit. Go to Six Rivers National Forest.
Right now people are telling the C of C that one of the best places is in Gasquet. You turn at the grocery store in Gasquet and go up a ways. The trees are really nice because they got more sun.
Be sure to follow the directions on your permit.
How to cut down the tree:
Cut only trees that are 6 inches or less in diameter at the ground level.
1.) Chain Saw – Always use protective glasses and ear plugs. Steel capped boots and non-slip gloves are also recommended.
2.) Hand saw or ax – That works too just takes a little longer.
3.) Dog – You’ve forgotten and left every tool that could be used to cut the tree at home. Everybody can help the dog dig the tree up by it’s roots. Oops! That’s not right. That only happens to the Griswolds.
Leave the stump only 12″ high.
Remember to shake your tree before loading:
You don’t want insects to come home with you. So give that tree a good shake. Then attach your permit to the tree before driving it home.
Now that you have hiked in and found your perfect tree, cut it down, given it a good shake and got it loaded… drive home and have a cup of hot cocoa before or while decorating your tree. If things didn’t go particularly well, you might want to add a little something extra to your hot cocoa like rum or brandy. Or forget the hot cocoa and go straight for the booze. Some families don’t know how to have fun together.
If all of this doesn’t seem like the way you want to spend your day, then there are plenty of Christmas Tree’s already cut and ready for purchase around our area. And they will benefit good causes.
Remember to recycle your tree after Christmas:
Solid Waste and Hambro/WSG are sponsoring free Christmas tree recycling. 1 tree per family will be accepted at the transfer station at 1700 State Street in Crescent City. Recology customers can have their tree picked up FREE by calling 464 4181. Just remove all decorations and tinsel. They do not take stands. This program ends January 31, 2016.
Merry Christmas and remember – do not drink and drive.