Christmas is just around the corner and so is an annual tradition in the Pike National Forest.Each year, thousands of families with permits in hand venture into the forest near Denver and Colorado Springs to hunt for that perfect Christmas tree. Its an annual tradition that brings tree hunters from as far away as Kansas.While the forest trees are not as full or uniform in shape as those sold in commercial lots, at $10 each, the price is right for cost-conscious consumers who want to save money for gifts.
Two cutting areas will be available in the Denver to Colorado Springs corridor, with permit sales starting Monday for the southwest Denver cutting area and sales beginning Nov. 29 for the Colorado Springs cutting area.One permit is sold for each tree with a maximum of five permits sold per person. The trees are sold for personal use only. Only trees of six inches in diameter and below may be cut. A variety of species are available, depending on the cutting area: Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, Lodgepole pine, Englemann spruce.For permits in the area southwest of Denver: The South Platte Ranger District of the Pike & San Isabel National Forests is selling Christmas tree permits for cutting in a 10,000-acre designated area near Buffalo Creek in Jefferson County. A total of 6,000 permits will be sold, with each permit valid for a specified date chosen at the time the permit is purchased. Sales will continue until the permit supply is exhausted, typically prior to Thanksgiving. Cutting dates in this area are: Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26 - 27 and then Dec. 4 - South Platte Ranger District office or by mail.
At the Morrison District Office. The district office is located off U.S. Highway 285 approximately 6 ½ miles southwest of Colorado Highway 470. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Permits will not be available on site in this cutting area. District office phone: (303) 275-5610.
By mail. Those interested in purchasing by mail should visit the district Web site, download a purchase form and mail the completed form with a check to the district office by Nov. 15. Further information as well as the mailing address can be found on the Pike National Forest Web site.Colorado Springs area: Beginning Nov. 29, the Pikes Peak Ranger District (Colorado Springs) will offer Christmas tree permits for cutting in designated areas just east and north of Woodland Park along Rampart Range Road. Actual cutting can occur from the date the permit is purchased for this area through Dec. 15. There is no limit on total number of permits on sale. Permits for the Rampart Range Road cutting area may be purchased in two ways:
At the Colorado Springs District Office. In person at the Pikes Peak Ranger District Office beginning Nov. 29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and on Saturday, Dec.4, and will continue to be on sale through Dec. 15. The district office is located at 601 S. Weber St. in Colorado Springs (Ph: 719-477-4221).
At the cutting location. Permits will be sold at the Woodland Park Middle School parking lot on Dec. 4-5 and Dec. 11-12 only.For information on the Colorado Springs area cutting location and activities, visit the Pikes Peak District Web site.