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Christmas tree permits can be purchased at area GMUG offices

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Christmas tree permits are available for purchase at Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) offices for personal use. The cost per permit is $8 and may be purchased with cash, check or credit card. There is a maximum of five tree permits per person. Permits will be sold through Dec. 31.

Locally, permits may be purchased at the forest supervisor's office, 2250 S. Main Street, and at the Paonia Ranger District, 403 N. Rio Grande Avenue, during weekday business hours.

Valley Ranch in Collbran and Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply in Clifton also have permits for sale.

Christmas tree cutting is allowed in most areas on the GMUG National Forests with the following exceptions: Wilderness, scenic pullouts, commercial timber sales areas, recreation and ski areas, campgrounds, trailheads, developed sites and administrative areas, and otherwise as detailed in the package provided with your permit. Trees may not be cut within 100 feet of any road or trail. Maps showing where Christmas tree cutting is allowed are available at all offices where permits are sold, and will be provided with permits along with a regulations list.

Trees must be less than 20 feet tall from the stump, may not be greater than 6 inches in diameter at the base of the tree and the stump height should be no greater than 6 inches high. Topping trees is not allowed (i.e. cutting only the top of the tree and leaving the bottom with limbs attached). Trees are for personal use only and cannot be resold. The tags must be attached to the tree at the cutting location and must be left on the tree until it arrives at its final destination.

The GMUG is pleased to continue the fourth grade free Christmas tree program again this holiday season. Fourth graders are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit through the Every Kid in a Park Initiative, a nationwide call to action to build the next generation of conservationists. All fourth graders are eligible to receive a fourth grade pass that allows free access to federal lands and waters across the country for a full year. In support of this initiative, the Forest Service will make available a free Christmas tree permit to every interested fourth grader who presents a fourth grade pass or paper voucher at any GMUG National Forests office location.

In order for students to receive a free Christmas tree permit, they must present a valid fourth grade pass or paper voucher printed from the Every Kid in a Park website: https://everykidinapark.gov/. To earn the voucher, simply visit the website, click on the "Get Your Pass" button and follow the instructions to obtain the voucher. Print out the paper voucher and bring it with you to a district office or the supervisor's office on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests.

The Forest Travel Management Plans and/or weather conditions may close various forest roads. As a reminder, motor vehicle use maps have been produced for the entire forest and show forest roads, trails and areas that have been designated for seasonal closures. Motorized users are responsible for obtaining a map to determine where one can drive, ride, and recreate. These maps are free and are available at ranger stations or on the forest website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/gmug. Snow and winter conditions will dictate road access for Christmas tree harvesting. Conditions associated with winter travel on forest roads may include, but are not limited to, heavy snow, ice, soft shoulders, and constantly changing road conditions.

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