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Where and how to cut down your own Christmas tree in Colorado

Channel your inner Griswold and cut down your own Christmas tree this year. This is where in Colorado you can.

COLORADO, USA — If you're looking for relatively safe ways to get into the holiday spirit this year, how does stomping through a snowy forest to pick out the perfect Christmas tree sound?

There are several places in Colorado where you can buy a permit to saw down your own tree on National Forest Service Land.

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Here's everything you need to know:

How it works

This year, there are six primary Forest Service cutting areas in the state. For each one, you’ll need to purchase a permit for $10 or $20 before you cut down a tree.

Each regulates its district a little differently.

Fraser/Winter Park

Permit Sales: Permits are available online by clicking here, at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Country Ace Hardware in Granby, Murdoch's in Fraser and Fireside Market in Winter Park. All permits must be bought in advance and are $20

Dates: Nov. 23 - Jan. 6

Details: Cutting will available within the Sulphur Ranger District only this year, due to impact from the Cameron Peak, Wiliams Fork and East Troublesome fires. Christmas trees will not be available in the Red Feather Lakes area. There are also reducing cutting areas in Grand County. Elk Creek near Winter Park and Fraser will be open for cutting, however, it will not be staffed and roads will not be plowed.

More: http://bit.ly/2zR8t3i

Cutting area map: http://bit.ly/2zAnjqQR

Buffalo Creek

Permit Sales: Permits for the Buffalo Creek, Camp Fickes and Sugar Creek area have moved online-only this year. You can reserve a specific cutting day and area at this link. Permits are $20. Weekend dates are expected to sell out.

Dates: Nov. 27 - Dec. 13 

Details: If for some reason you can’t use your permit on the day you originally bought it for, any permit can be used from on weekdays from Nov. 30 - Dec. 11 or on Sunday, Dec. 13.

More: http://bit.ly/2Bp71l3

Cutting area map: https://bit.ly/36ZTr8w

South Park

Permit Sales: This year, sales for permits are available online at this link or by mailing a form and check to the South Park District ranger office. Permits are $20.

Dates: Oct. 15 - Dec. 31

Details: Anyone with a permit can cut down a tree anywhere within the South Park Ranger District, with the exception of a few restricted areas. Trees marked with paint are not allowed to be cut. There is private land within the boundary. Be sure the tree you are cutting is in National Forest Service property.

More: http://bit.ly/2Bp71l3

Cutting area map: https://bit.ly/36ZTr8w

Rampart Range

Permit Sales: Permits are available online only at this link and are $20.

Dates: Nov. 27 - Dec. 16

Other: Trees may be cut northwest of Woodland Park in the North Divide area and northwest of Woodland Park off Forest Service Roads 339 and 342. Be aware that many Douglas fir trees have been damaged by Western Spruce Budworm. Ponderosa pine, Engelmann spruce and Limber pine are also available in this area.

More: http://bit.ly/2jwOcVE

Cutting area map: https://bit.ly/2UXvDND

Leadville/Salida/Canon City

Permit Sales: Christmas tree permits can be purchased online at this link or requests can be mailed with a check and self-addressed, stamped envelope to the appropriate district office. Permits are $10.

Dates: Nov. 15 - Dec. 31

Other: Christmas tree cutting is allowed throughout the San Isabel National Forest with the exceptions of campgrounds, trailheads, ski areas, wilderness areas and recreation areas 

More: http://bit.ly/2jwOcVE

Cutting area map: Available at the district offices

Western Slope

Permit Sales: Permits are available online at this link and are $10. Permits can also be purchased at a variety of vendors in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Silverthorne, Vail, etc. A full list of those stores is available here.

Dates: Nov. 15 - Dec. 31

Other: A permit allows you to cut trees in designated areas in any district within the White River National Forest. You cannot cut Colorado Blue Spruce trees.

More: http://bit.ly/2jwOcVE

Cutting area maps:

Aspen-Sopris Ranger District:https://bit.ly/3m5aUDr  

Blanco Ranger District: https://bit.ly/3fxHwDC

Dillon Ranger District: https://bit.ly/3l0GBfR

Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District: https://bit.ly/3nUE1K8

Rifle Ranger District: https://bit.ly/3laZ0a5

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