Christmas Tree Cutting Begins on National Forests

Release Date: Nov 21, 2012   U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, 740 Simms Street, Golden, CO 80401

Contact(s): Jan Leche, U.S. Forest Service, 303.275.5349, Chris Strebig, U.S. Forest Service, 303.275.5346


DENVER, November 21, 2012:  The USDA Forest Service will open five Front Range Christmas tree cutting areas on the Pike, Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests beginning Saturday, December 1 through Sunday, December 9, 2012.  A $10.00 permit per tree is required before entering a tree cutting area with a limit of five permits per person.  These permits are for personal use only. 


The Forest Service developed a website to highlight Christmas tree cutting opportunities on Rocky Mountain Region national forests at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/r2/home


“Cutting a Christmas tree in a national forest is a popular recreational experience for many people in the Front Range metro areas,” said Nan Christianson, acting Deputy Regional Forester for the Rocky Mountain Region.  “What a great opportunity for people to spend a day with family or friends on their national forests and come home with a tree they will enjoy throughout the Christmas season,” Christianson added. 


Cutting areas on the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest:

  • Fraser (near Winter Park)
  • Permits are available – Sulphur Ranger Station, 9 Ten Mile Drive, Granby, CO; at Elk Creek tree cutting site during cutting period only; Winter Park Chamber of Commerce; or by mail.
  • Required: Permit to cut a tree; tire chains or 4-wheel drive vehicle
  • Red Feather Lakes
  • Permits are available - Canyon Lakes Ranger Station at 2150 Centre Avenue, Building E in Fort Collins, CO; Pawnee National Grassland office at 660 “O” Street, Suite A, Greeley, CO; Boulder Ranger Station, 2140 Yarmouth Avenue in Boulder, CO; tree cutting site on the weekends only during the cutting period 
  • Required: Permit to cut a tree; tire chains or a four-wheel drive vehicle 


Cutting areas on the Pike National Forest:

  • Buffalo Creek (near Pine Junction)
  • Permits are available at the South Platte Ranger Station, 19316 Goddard Ranch Court
    Morrison, CO 80465 or by mail (see website for mail in form)
  • Required: Permit to cut a tree; must choose specific cutting date 
  • Rampart Range Road (near Woodland Park)
  • Permits available - Pikes Peak Ranger Station, 601 South Weber Street in Colorado Springs, CO;  at the east parking lot of Woodland Park Middle School only on the weekends during the cutting period 
  • Required: Permit to cut a tree; tire chains or a four-wheel drive vehicle
  • South Park area (near Fairplay)
  • Permits are available - South Park Ranger Station at 320 South Highway 285 in Fairplay or by mail with a check or money order prior to tree cutting
  • Required: Permit to cut a tree
  • Recommended: Tire chains or a 4-wheel drive vehicle 

For safety reasons, all tree cutting sites entry hours are from 8:30am to 2:30pm during the cutting dates. 


Rules for cutting your own Christmas tree are simple:

  1. Cut a tree with trunk size around 6 inches in diameter (strictly enforced in some areas – some local exceptions may apply)
  2. Bring a handsaw to cut trees – no chainsaws allowed
  3. Use of chainsaws, snowmobiles, ATVs, other off-road vehicles and cutting trees marked with blue paint are strictly PROHIBITED
  4. Cut trees within 6 inches of the ground and below all live limbs-take the whole tree
  5. All pets must be on a leash and under master control
  6. No trespassing on private property
  7. Be sure to keep Christmas tree in water when displayed or stored at home

Thinning stands of smaller trees by removing some as Christmas trees reduces competition among all trees, helps reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and promotes healthier growing conditions for the remaining forest. 


For more information on Christmas tree cutting and directions to cutting areas please call the USDA Forest Service Visitor Information Services at the MapStore@USGS at (303) 202-4949 or check the Forest Service website at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r2/recreation for details.


Christmas Tree Cutting Map Areas