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Coconino National Forest begins selling permits for Christmas trees

(Flikr Photo/Coconino National Forest)

PHOENIX — ‘Tis the season.

Coconino National Forest has started selling permits to the public to allow cutting trees for Christmas.

“For the Coconino National Forest up here toward northern Arizona, we have about 600 permits for Christmas trees tags available,” Public Affairs Officer for Coconino National Forest Brady Smith told KTAR. “All the different national forests have their own amount and they vary, and they have their own rules and polices about how many they’ll sell to one person.”

Smith explains that permits can be purchased for $15 each at the Mogollon Rim Ranger District station, Flagstaff Ranger station and the supervisor’s office in Flagstaff. These locations will sell permits up until Dec. 25, but Smith encourages the public that if they are interested in obtaining a permit, they should first call ahead to gauge availability, as well as the amount of trees available for cutting.

“You’d want to check the ranger station or the location you’re going to to purchase your permit before you drive out there, because they do go quickly, but again each national forest has a different number of permits,” Smith said. “They might be sold out here, but at another national forest they may have permits available.”

Smith stated that while the permit allows you the ability to cut down a tree, you will still have to bring you’re own cutting material, as well as any other equipment to bring the tree back to your house.

In addition to bringing your own equipment, Smith warns the public that besides worrying about tree availability, the weather is also a factor.

“Be aware that sometimes cutting areas can close if there’s really inclement weather, even if you have purchased a permit,” Smith added. “Permits are non-refundable, so once you do get that permit, head out there as soon as you can or before a weather storm front comes in, because if that happens and the snow gets deep or gets too muddy where vehicles can’t get in, we will close those areas.”

For those worried about the after-effects of cutting mass amounts of trees, Smith offers reassures that only certain areas are used for cutting.

“We have designated areas where they’re able to cut, but it does thin a little bit in those areas, but nothing to the extent where we need to thin for a really healthy forest,” Smith said.

KTAR’S Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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