Regional Christmas Tree Program (RCTP): Core Cutting Dates & Permit Information

 
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Animated Christmas tree with presents around the bottomThe Rocky Mountain Region manages 17 national forests and seven national grasslands throughout Colorado, Nebraska, along with most of South Dakota and Wyoming. Christmas tree cutting permits are generally available from most US Forest Service offices [.pdf 434KB] throughout the Rocky Mountain Region. Call the office of the closest Ranger District to the area you want to cut in to verify that they are offering Christmas tree cutting permits.
 
This page contains information regarding Front Range/Denver Metro Area Core Cutting Dates, along with information regarding Christmas tree cutting permit requirements and recommendations. Although the information on this page is presented as requirements and recommendations, local exemptions to specific information map apply.
Select from the topic list below to find the information you need:
 
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Core Cutting Dates
 
Local exceptions may apply to the information below!
  • Core Cutting Dates: December 06 -14, 2014
  • Permits: $10 each. One tree per permit. Limit 5 permits per person. All sales are final.
  • Area Entry Hours: 8:30 am to 2:30 pm - For your safety, no entry is allowed before or after these hours
Tree Cutting Permit Requirements
 
Local exceptions may apply to the information below!
  • Don't trespass on private property
  • ALWAYS USE A HANDSAW ONLY - MOTORIZED SAWS AND CHAINSAWS ARE STRICTLY PROHIBITED!
  • PROHIBITED - Chainsaws, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, other off-road vehicles, and cutting trees marked with BLUE PAINT
  • Tree trunk size must be 6 inches (or less) in diameter - strictly enforced in some areas, but some local exceptions may apply [click to view photos]
  • Cut tree 6 inches (or less) from the ground and take the whole tree – “topping” trees is not permitted!
  • Permits must be visible on tree for easy check-out
Tree Cutting Permit Recommendations
 
Local exceptions may apply to the information below!
  • Cut a tree close to other trees to help thin the forest
  • Bring some heavy-duty gloves [click to view photos]
  • Dress for winter weather
  • Pets must be on a leash - better yet, leave pets at home
  • Check road conditions on the Colorado Department of Transportation website or call the closest Ranger District [.pdf 434KB] office to the area you want to cut in
  • Make sure your vehicle has plenty of gas
  • Park out of traffic path
  • Carry tire chains
  • Bring food, extra water, warm drinks, a shovel, a blanket, and a first-aid kit
  • Pack out your own trash
  • Bring a rope and tarp to pack your tree in or on your vehicle for the trip home [click to view photos]
Photos and Exhibits
 
Click on the images below to view larger versions in a separate window
 
  Supplies you will need to cut your own Christmas tree. Click to view a larger version and supply tips, your cursor will NOT change shape!  
This photo shows what supplies are
needed to cut your own Christmas tree
 
  This person shows what it takes to cut a tree with a stump of 6 inches or less. Click to view a larger version, your cursor will NOT change shape!       The permit handout shows the desired height of stump...6 inches or less. Click to view a larger version, your cursor will NOT change shape!  
This person shows what it
takes to cut a tree with a
stump of 6 inches or less
 
This permit shows the desired
height of the stump...
6 inches or less
 
  Correct way to wrap your tree prior to loading it in or on your car. Click to view a larger version, your cursor will NOT change shape!       Correct way to load your tree on your car - wrapped in a tarp and tied down with rope. Click to view a larger version, your cursor will NOT change shape!  
This photo shows the correct
way to wrap your tree prior to loading it in or on your car
 
This photo shows the correct
way to load your tree on
your car - wrapped in a tarp
and tied down with rope
 
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