Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests to start selling permits on Monday, Nov. 23. 

This has been a tough year for our state and national forests due to the devastating and prolonged fire season, some of which firefighters are still mitigating.

The Cameron Peak, Williams Fork, and  East Troublesome Fires, and the need for social distancing, are all affecting tree cutting opportunities on the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests. Some areas traditionally open to Christmas tree cutting will not be available for the 2020 season. 

"Due to the East Troublesome and Williams Fork wildfire closure areas, the Sulphur Ranger District will have reduced tree cutting areas in Grand County this year. The Christmas tree cutting areas in the Elk Creek area near Winter Park and Fraser will be opened; however, to encourage social distancing and limit crowds the Sulphur Ranger District will not be hosting organized events as there have been in the past. Christmas tree cutters are encouraged to follow social distancing protocols and, to reduce crowd sizes, disperse the hunt for that perfect tree across open areas on the Sulphur Ranger District. Weekday cutting is encouraged to avoid the larger weekend crowds," the U.S. Forest Service announced recently

Permits for these areas will be on sale starting on November 23 through January 6, 2021. You can find more about permits and requirements on the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest website

Areas that are closed to cutting this year include the Roosevelt National Forest in Larimer County.

"The Red Feather Lakes Christmas tree sale area, also known as Swamp Creek, as well as an area set aside as a back-up tree cutting location in the Pingree Park area, was impacted by the Cameron Peak Fire. District staff will be diligently working to identify another location for Christmas tree cutting to resume in December 2021," the USFS said.  

If you are looking for other options, permits are on sale for the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, as well as the White River National Forest. Each forest has its own cost and rules for cutting, so it's best to visit their websites for the most up-to-date information before you go. 

It is important to note that many National Forests offer fourth-grade students with an Every Kid Outdoors pass to apply for a free Christmas Tree permit through the online system with Recreation.gov by selecting the option and then entering their voucher or pass number when prompted. Check out more information on the program on the Recreation.gov site. 

Do you usually cut your own tree from a National Forest? Let us know in the comments below.