X-mas tree permits on sale Monday

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By Special to the Monitor

Santa Fe National Forest offices and various vendors in Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Pecos and Las Vegas will begin selling personal-use Christmas tree permits for $10 beginning Monday, through Dec. 24. 

Permit holders may also cut their tree(s) on Monday. If you plan to cut your tree on Thanksgiving Day, purchase your permit ahead of time because all Forest Service offices will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. 

Permits can be purchased at the following locations.

• Los Alamos Historic Society and Gift Shop, 1921 Juniper, 662-4493;

• REI, 500 Market Street, Santa Fe, 982-3557

• Pecos Canyon Station, 144 N. Main St., Pecos, 757-2697

The Santa Fe National Forest also provided the following guidelines for cutting a tree.

1. You must tag your tree before you cut it. Strip off the paper backing and fold the permit securely over onto itself around one of the trees lower branches. Load your tree so that the permit is easily visible to Forest officials checking for permits. 

2. Forest Service Staff may be in the cutting areas to check permits and answer questions. They are not authorized to sell permits, so you should have a permit with you when you get to the area. 

3. Cut trees as low to the ground as possible (do not leave stump more than six inches in height). 

4. One permit is valid for trees five inches in diameter and up to 10-feet-in-height. Trees taller than 10-feet require an additional permit. For example, if you want a 15-foot tree, you need to purchase two permits and affix the two permits to the tree before you cut it. Trees larger than five inches in diameter and taller than 10-feet-in-height without two permits may be confiscated and the permit holder may be cited. 

5. Please respect the rights of the private landowners located adjacent to the National Forest boundaries — cut only if you are sure you are on National Forest lands and in designated cutting areas. 

6. Avoid cutting in restricted areas: 

Within all recreation camp areas; 

within 300 feet of streams and rivers; 

within 300 feet of paved roads; 

within designated Wilderness areas; 

behind all locked gates; 

all private land. 

 7. Take your litter home with you and remove trimmings from the road to avoid damaging other vehicles.