Christmas tree permits could be more expensive this year

The USDA Forest Service is proposing a fee increase on Christmas tree permits but first the public can offer its input.

Christmas tree cutting permits could be more expensive this year in some national forests in Colorado.

The USDA Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Region is seeking the public's input on a proposed permit fee increase. The proposed fee would be $20 per permit for cutting in the Arapaho, Roosevelt, Pike, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests.

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The forest service says revenue from the fee increase would help provide maps, signs and information to visitors, help cover snow plowing costs, offer portable restrooms in some high-traffic areas, extend permit sales and expand forest safety patrols in cutting areas.

The public can provide input on the proposed permit fee increase online or by mail through Friday, February 16.

In a news release, the forest service says the Christmas tree cutting program is beneficial to Colorado: "For generations, friends and families throughout Colorado have made cutting their own Christmas tree on a national forest a treasured holiday tradition and the program offers them an opportunity to be good stewards of their public lands. The Christmas tree cutting program brings thousands of people into small mountain communities and supports local economies such as restaurants, stores and gas stations during the holiday season. The program is enjoyed by all who participate while helping to thin regeneration growth and meet important restoration objectives. The program also encourages people to get outdoors and discover their national forests."

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