Permits available November 17 at Pagosa Ranger District downtown (970-264-2268)
It’s that time of year again here in the mountains when families throughout San Juans pack the kids in the car for a different type of hunt — the perfect Christmas tree. It’s a magical experience. If you’ve never tried it, check out the information provided below and get out in the woods for an unforgettable experience.
The process is easy but the Forest Office is very strict in the rules enforcement. First of all you have to buy a permit. You can purchase a permit for only $8 at the Pagosa office or any of the offices listed below. Make sure you take your permit with you because you are required to attach the permit to the trunk of the tree before driving back into town.
Second, make sure you don’t cut a tree within 100 feet of any road or campground. Of course, don’t cut any trees in any designated Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Recreation Areas, Research Natural Area or tree plantations. Other areas specifically off limits are listed in the brochures below.
The Forest Service encourages you to choose the best tree for your family but certain trees are off limits. You MAY cut White Fir, Subalpine Fir and Spruce. You MAY NOT cut Ponderosa Pine or Douglas Fir. Check the brochures below for tree descriptions and illustrations.
Finding that perfect tree is the funnest part. Be sure to let the kids help. Please take a shovel with you to dig out the snow around the tree and cut the tree as close to the ground as possible. Never cut down a tree taller than 20 feet!
The rest of the process you should know well since you’ve probably been through the ritual each year since you were a baby. Prop that tree up in the family room, heat up the hot chocolate, break out your family ornaments and cameras and create the memories that last a lifetime.
Below is a video we created on our first Pagosa Springs Christmas tree hunt. We start hunting our tree at minute 2:45 and cutting the tree at 4:00. I’ve included some helpful handouts from the Forest Service below the video. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!