Bureau of Land Management and Ouray Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service Christmas tree permits are now on sale at the Montrose Interagency Office, 2505 S. Townsend Ave. Permits can be purchased 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, until noon on Friday, Dec. 23. All permits expire Christmas Day, Sunday, Dec. 25.
Pinyon and juniper trees are available for harvesting on BLM public lands, and sub-alpine fir, Engelmann spruce, pinyon pine, Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine and Rocky Mountain juniper can be cut on Forest Service-managed lands. A permit is $8 per tree, limited to two trees per household. Trees are for personal use only and may not be resold.
At the time of purchase, permit holders will receive a map and travel directions, as well as rules for cutting trees. Cutting is permitted on all public lands except those areas signed as the following: closed, developed campgrounds, wilderness areas or Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. Cutting is not permitted on tree plantations or on private land.
All areas allowable for tree cutting will require parking along the road, walking in and carrying the tree out. Cross-country motorized travel to retrieve a tree is not allowed.
Many of the areas have limited vehicle access, depending on snow depths. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for all cutting areas, and people should be aware of changing weather and road conditions before heading out to find that special Christmas tree. Vehicles used for accessing the areas should be equipped with tire chains, a shovel and emergency supplies such as extra food and blankets.