It’s been long thought that the tradition of the Christmas tree was started in Germany, sometime in the 16th century. Small fir trees and branches, initially called paradise trees were taken into homes. Branches were used to form pyramid-like formation and tied to tree branches so that candles could rest safely within the tree. Candles represented family members and loved ones. Soon fir trees were commonplace throughout Europe, often found in parlors decorated with flowers, colored papers of the time, sweets, fruits, and gold-foils.

Dutch and other European immigrants brought their fir tree traditions with them to this country, but it wasn’t until poet Clement Moore wrote “Twas the Night Before Christmas” in 1822 that Christmas trees became an American tradition. American’s primarily adorned their trees with homemade ornaments and most continued placing candles atop branches however they proved to be credible fire hazards. That changed when a New York entrepreneur and businessman named Edward Hibberd Johnson hired an inventor by the name of Thomas Edison. Edison’s inventions are historically well known, eventually leading to the Edison Lamp Company. In 1884, a New York Times article published an article featuring a Christmas tree that Johnson wrapped a 120-bulb light strand that he himself hand-wired. The rest is history.

Today, we have just as many life-like, artificial trees that come equipped with lights that can be programmed in a variety of ways. Companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon make it easy for shoppers to order online and have their perfect “fake” tree delivered within a few days and even overnight. If, however, you still enjoy the good old fashion tradition of cutting down your own tree, then a trip to the Sulphur Ranger District may just strengthen this year’s holiday experience. We’ve outlined the rules and regulations of cutting down your own tree in Grand County below.

Cutting dates for the Sulphur Range District begin Nov 1, 2019, through Jan 6, 2020. Each household can cut up to 5 trees at a cost of $20 per tree. Trees can only be cut within the forest boundary. Please be respectful of private property that may abut the forest. Four-wheel drive or appropriate traction devices (chains or similar, not tire socks) are mandatory for all vehicles. If cutting in Elk Creek be aware that roads are one-way and very narrow.

To preserve and keep the forest healthy, it’s important that cutting rules are strictly followed. Stump heights have a six-inch maximum, stump diameters must not exceed six inches and you must take the entire tree as cutting only a tree’s top is prohibited. If there is snow on the ground it must be cleared from the stump to accurately measure stump and tree size.

Be sure to dress warm, carry extra water and a survival kit that should include food, matches, and other items including a blanket should you be forced to overnight. Proper tools are also important including a handsaw for tree cutting, gloves to protect your hands, a tarp to transport your cut tree, ropes or straps to secure the tree to your vehicle.

Tree cutting may not be an ideal environment for pets but if you bring one, they must always remain on a leash. Annual Christmas tree cutting in Grand County is very popular so be aware of traffic and falling trees. Alert passersby traffic before falling your tree.

For all Christmas tree-cutting rules, regulations, tips, etc. visit the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests Christmas Tree Permit Link

Tree Cutting Area Map –

Places to Purchase Permits –

Tracy Navarrete