Tree-cutting permits go on sale Monday at Enumclaw ranger station

Those planning to cut a Christmas tree in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest this year may want to do it before the snow falls in the high country. Permits to cut trees go on sale Monday and will be available until Dec. 24.

Unlike past years, the Forest Service will not plow Forest Service roads 7010 and 75 on the Highway 410 corridor.

“Providing motor vehicle access to the high country can be difficult because of large elevation gains of 2,000 to 5,000 feet and quickly-changing weather conditions on steep, single-lane gravel roads,” said Jim Franzel, district ranger for the Snoqualmie Ranger District.  He said there isn’t enough funding to plow and monitor road conditions. Additionally, the noble and silver fir second growth stands that have supported the Christmas tree harvests now exceed the maximum allowable 20 feet, having originated from commercial cutting of these areas in the 1960s and 70s.

The long-range goal for the Christmas tree program is to plant noble fir in lower elevation areas in both corridors, which will take seven to 10 years to become harvestable size.

The Enumclaw and North Bend offices sell approximately 4,500 harvest permits annually. Franzel suggests harvesting a tree before Thanksgiving to avoid the snow. He said a cut tree can be kept outdoors for a few weeks without harm.

Locally, permits are available at the Enumclaw ranger station, 450 Roosevelt Ave. The phone number for the office is 360-825-6585.Permits also are being sold at stations in Sedro-Woolley, Darrington, Granite Falls, Skykomish, Lynnwood and Seattle.

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