TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Always had a live Christmas tree for the holidays? Why not try cutting down your own tree this year - the Tonto National Forest has your perfect opportunity.
Beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 13 the Tonto National Forest will be selling Christmas tree permits for $15 at the following two locations, dates and times:
- Supervisor’s Office 2324 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, (602)225-5200: Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm, they are closed for lunch from 1 to 1:30 p.m.
- Mesa Ranger District 5140 E. Ingram St., Mesa (480) 610-3300: Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm, closed for lunch from noon to 12:30 pm
- Payson Ranger District 1009 E. Highway 260, Payson (928) 474-7900: Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm, closed for lunch from 12:30 to 1:30 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 2 pm on Nov. 17 thru Dec. 22
- Cave Creek Ranger District 40202 N Cave Creek Rd, Scottsdale (480) 595-3300: Monday – Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm
The Christmas tree permit "allows the holder to cut a tree within any designated cutting site on the Tonto National Forest – regardless of whether the permit was purchased at the Supervisor’s Office or one of the three ranger districts -- beginning November 17."
These Christmas tree permits will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis until they are gone. They must be purchased in person; payment options include cash, check, or credit card. Customers will receive a map that shows the designated cutting areas. Maps will include additional Christmas tree cutting instructions.
Fourth-grade students are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit, while supplies last, through the Every Kid in a Park initiative. In support of this initiative, the Forest Service is making available a free Christmas tree permit to every interested fourth grader with a fourth grade pass or paper voucher.
More information about the initiative and how to obtain a pass is available by visiting www.everykidinapark.gov.
To be eligible for a free Christmas tree permit from your local national forest office, all fourth graders must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and present their fourth grade pass or paper voucher.
- Each Christmas tree permit allows permit holders to cut a tree up to 10 feet tall
- One tree per household. One person may purchase up to four permits for other families not living in the household
- Permits are for personal use only
- No refunds on Christmas tree permits
- Cutting dates are Nov. 17 through Dec. 24
Tree cutters are reminded to be prepared for sudden weather changes and colder conditions when in high elevations. A fun family outing can become miserable and even dangerous with a quick change of weather for the unprepared.
Forest officials recommend cutting the tree early in the season before the higher elevations are snow bound. To help keep that tree fresh, cut two inches from the bottom of it at home and place it in water. Keep the tree watered and in a shady spot until ready to move it into the house.
Another helpful hint is to bring an old tarp to wrap the tree in. Then when dragging the tree out of the forest, the tarp protects the tree and helps avoid breaking branches. The tarp can also help avoid wind damage on the way home.