According to most department stores, the holiday season has officially begun (and by “officially” we mean you can buy all sorts of festive things)……………. that’s great news if you’re a planner, not so great if you’re dreading the crowds, the chaos and everything else that goes along with the holidays. But, I digress…………….. to help you get ahead of the game, and because cutting down your own Christmas tree is actually a fun, family activity, we thought we’d share this news item from the U.S. Forest Service (or you can pick up the November issue of Arizona Highways, which talks about this very activity, and is on newsstands now).
One more thing, before you head out, make sure you consider these very helpful tips courtesy of Jerry Drury, the natural resources staff officer for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest:
>>Wear warm clothes.
>>Pack plenty of food and water.
>>Tell people where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
>>Bring a hand saw or ax, as well as some rope to carry out your tree.
Thousands of people every year cut their Christmas tree from the national forests. This year, Christmas tree cutting permits will be available for five of the six national forests in Arizona: Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott, and Tonto. Starting Saturday October 27, permits will be available for purchase at Big Five Sporting Goods Stores in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Kingman, Bullhead City, Prescott Valley, Yuma, Thatcher and Show Low.
In addition, permits will also be available for purchase at several Forest Service offices. For information on which offices are offering over-the-counter Christmas tree permits and when they will be sold, please contact the respective national forest:
· Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests 928-333-4301
· Coconino National Forest 928-527-3600
· Kaibab National Forest 928-635-8200
· Prescott National Forest 928-443-8000
· Tonto National Forest 602-225-5200
Each Christmas tree permit is for a specified cutting area and costs $15. The cutting season will start November 17 and end Christmas Eve (December 24) at midnight. This year, there are 9,500 Christmas tree permits available in all; however, some cutting areas offer a very limited number of permits and may sell out quickly.
General information about the Christmas tree cutting program will also available on the Christmas tree permit hotline (928) 333-6267 and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Web site under “Passes and Permits”. General Rules for Christmas Tree Permits:
· Each Christmas tree permit is $15 for a tree up to 10 feet tall.
· One Christmas tree permit allowed per household—for personal use only.
· Trees must be cut within designated cutting areas.
· Trees may be cut between November 17 and December 24.
· There are no refunds on Christmas tree permits.
Participating Big Five Stores
· Avondale/Goodyear: 1623 North Dysart Road, 623-535-0384
· Bullhead City: 1835 Hwy 95, 928-763-0608
· Chandler: 2050 North Arizona Avenue, 480-821-9226
· Flagstaff:2775 Woodlands Village Boulevard, 928-214-0590
· Glendale:5490 West Bell Road, 602-548-5794
· Kingman:3320 North Stockton Hill Road, 928-692-4944
· Mesa: 2930 North Power Road, 480-854-1889
· Mesa/Gilbert: 1244 South Gilbert Road, 480-507-0137
· Paradise Valley:4623 East Cactus Road, 602-953-0305
· Phoenix/Bell Rd:1919 West Bell Road, 602-863-1309
· Phoenix/East: 3560 East Thomas Road, 602-955-9601
· Phoenix/West: 7710 West Thomas Road, 623-848-4800
· Prescott Valley: 6106 Highway 69, 928-759-0013
· Show Low: 4441 South White Mountain, 928-537-5551
· Scottsdale: 3330 Hayden Road, 480-941-4387
· Thatcher: 2281 West U.S. Highway 70 Suite C, 928-428-8760
· Tucson: 5695 East Speedway Boulevard, 520-296-3326
· Yuma: 505 Catalina Drive, 928-726-2884