FORT COLLINS, Colo. – For generations, families from across the Colorado Front Range have made a tradition of cutting their Christmas tree in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. Christmas tree permits are available for $20 per tree on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District near Red Feather Lakes and the Sulphur Ranger District near Fraser and Winter Park. New this year, permits can be purchased online through the Open Forest system at https://openforest.fs.usda.gov/christmas-trees/forests.
Some tips to make your cutting experience better include checking the weather before heading out and ensuring you have plenty of layers to keep you warm. Be sure to have the tools necessary to cut your tree and know that chainsaws are not allowed. This includes a handsaw or ax and something to tie down your tree securely.
Details for each location are listed below. For additional information on Christmas tree cutting on the forest, please visitwww.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/xmastrees.
Canyon Lakes Ranger District (near Red Feather Lakes)
Tree cutting on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District is open from Dec. 1 to Dec. 9, 2018. The entrance is open from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For safety, visitors are asked to be out of the area by 4 p.m. The weekends are staffed and Smokey Bear will be spreading his fire prevention message. Permits can be purchased ahead of time for weekday cutting or are available at the cutting area on weekends. Cash only.
Make sure your vehicle has four-wheel drive (not all-wheel drive) or chains. They are required to enter the area. The cutting area is located northwest of Fort Collins, south of Red Feather Lakes. Take Highway 287 north of Fort Collins for 21 miles. At Livermore, turn left onto Red Feather Lakes Road (County Road 74E) and travel approximately 16 miles to the Boy Scout Road (County Road 68C). Turn left on the Boy Scout Road and drive seven miles to the entrance of the cutting area. Signs or staff will provide direction the rest of the way.
Sulphur Ranger District
The Elk Creek Cutting Area near Fraser and Winter Park is open for a short window: Dec. 1 through Dec. 8, 2018. Buy your permits in advance. No permits will be available for purchase at the gates of the cutting area! Permits are available seven days a week at Murdoch’s, Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Fireside Market & Eatery, and Granby Ace Hardware. Roads will be plowed to allow one way traffic of motor vehicles equipped with four-wheel-drive, all-wheel drive, or chained tires to enter from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Area gates close at 4 p.m. Snowmobiles and ATVs are not allowed in the cutting area. From Fraser, travel west on County Road 72, take the left fork and continue on to the cutting area entrance.