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Christmas tree permits now available from San Juan National Forest

Permits are available to cut down your own Christmas tree in the San Juan National Forest. (Courtesy photo)
Permits available online, at stores in Dolores and Durango and Forest Service offices

Christmas tree permits will be available to purchase with local vendors and online through Recreation.gov.

Details about designated cutting areas, dates and types of trees that may be cut can be found on the San Juan National Forest’s Christmas tree permit webpage on Recreation.gov.

The overview and need-to-know information is important when purchasing the permit. Visitors will need to set up or log in to a Recreation.gov account to complete the transaction if interested in purchasing a Christmas tree permit online. Online permits are $8 plus a $2.50 fee to Recreation.gov.

Permits also may be purchased in person for $8 at: Dolores Outfitters 341 Railroad Ave, Dolores, and in Durango at Kroeger’s Ace Hardware, No. 8 Town Plaza.

Additionally, Christmas tree permits will be available in-person starting Monday, Nov. 14, during normal business hours at the San Juan National Forest Supervisor’s Office and at the Dolores, Columbine and Pagosa District offices.

Recreation managers remind permit holders to harvest their tree responsibly. To correctly cut a Christmas tree, cut the trunk off as close to the ground as you can, leaving no more than as 6-inch stump. Do not cut ponderosa pine or Douglas fir trees. Christmas tree cutting is not allowed:

  • In Wilderness Areas, Recreation Areas, or Research Natural Areas.
  • Within 100 feet of any developed campground.
  • Within 100 feet of county roads and state or federal highways.
  • In tree plantation and active timber sales.
  • In specific locations identified in the permit, including La Plata Canyon near Durango.

Cutting a Christmas tree can improve forest health. Local forest health experts identify areas that benefit from thinning trees that tend to be the perfect size for Christmas trees. Removing the trees in designated areas helps other trees grow larger and can open areas that provide forage for wildlife.

For information on the San Juan National Forest, call (970) 247-4874, visit the forest website, or follow us on social media (Twitter and Facebook).