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Get your tree-cutting permits now

Is going to the forest, carefully selecting the perfect Christmas tree and cutting it down a tradition in your family? If not, now may be the time to start.

Through Dec. 24 the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is selling permits to cut Christmas trees.

Cutting areas are located within national forest lands in the eastern portions of Pierce, King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. Maps and information about cutting areas are provided where permits are sold at ranger stations and the Verlot and Glacier Public Service Centers.

Permits are sold at REI’s Alderwood Mall daily and the Outdoor Recreation Information Center located inside the downtown Seattle REI store Tuesdays-Saturdays. Permits cost $10 each, one tree per permit, with a tree height limit of 12 feet.  Trees taller than 12 feet require a tall tree permit for $20. The permits are for 2012 and nonrefundable.

Credit cards are not accepted at Forest Service offices or the Outdoor Recreation Information Center in the Seattle REI store, however, the REI at Alderwood Mall will take them. Forest Service offices and REI stores are closed Thanksgiving Day. Christmas Eve Forest Service offices are closed and REI stores will close early.

Plan to purchase a parking permit if the trip includes parking in a designated Sno-Park lot.  View the Christmas Tree Handout for rules and information about the permits.

Getting a tree early before snow falls usually means better access on forest roads. Most trees are reached by narrow, unplowed mountain roads. High-clearance vehicles are often required along with tire chains and a shovel. Check ranger stations for road and weather information or check road and trail conditions.

The Enumclaw Office is located at 450 Roosevelt Ave. E. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 24-25 and Dec. 1-2. For more information call 360-825-6585.

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