With Christmas just around the corner, many are starting to head into the bush to find that ‘special tree’ to decorate their home.
However, if you are interested in cutting your own Christmas tree from Crown Land you first must obtain a permit online, or by contacting your local district or FrontCounter BC office. There is no charge for the permit. Local district offices can provide details about specific cutting requirements and approved harvest areas such as the Thompson Rivers District which covers the North Thompson area.
Free-use permits are provided for personal use only. Selling a tree cut under a Christmas tree permit, or cutting a tree in an unauthorized area, is illegal.
Check online maps provided by districts to ensure you are cutting within a designated area. You cannot cut a Christmas tree from, private lands, plantations, research areas, parks, areas adjacent to rivers, streams, lakes or swamps, juvenile-spaced areas and any other areas reserved for a special use.
When cutting a Christmas tree, keep the following tips in mind:
* Leave home prepared. Bring ropes, gloves, tools, tire chains, a first aid kit, a mobile phone and warm clothing.
* Drive carefully. Be prepared for logging trucks: http://www.bcforestsafe.org
* Make sure you have found the tree you will use before cutting. Some permits specify only one tree can be cut.
* Choose a tree that can be cut near the base and is easy to transport. Wasted tree remains left in the forest can form a summer fire hazard.
* Clean up and remove all debris associated with your activity. For more information about Christmas tree permits: www.gov.bc.ca/christmastreepermits
The BC Christmas Tree Council website contains a list of tree farms and “U-Cuts” around the province: www.bcchristmastrees.com