Cutting Christmas trees OK - with limits

Accessible land with trees not in large supply

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2001

Juneau residents in search of a Christmas tree need look no farther than the Tongass National Forest or city land - with some restrictions.

A household can remove one Christmas tree a year from the Tongass National Forest, according to the Juneau Ranger District. No permit is required, and Christmas tree hunters are responsible for making sure the tree they cut is on Forest Service land.

But timber staff officer Dave Carr warns that there's a limited amount of national forest land near drivable roads in the Juneau area.

"There's a piece north of Eagle Beach and piece going to Eaglecrest, and that's really it," he said. "Even finding good quality trees is difficult."

The agency has these additional guidelines:

Trees cannot be cut in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, Dredge Lakes area and the Mendenhall Lake Campground.

Trees may not be removed within 100 feet of a salmon stream or within 300 feet of an eagle nest.

Trees cut should be at least 100 feet from the edge of a road.

Trees should be no larger than 7 inches in diameter at the stump and should be cut no higher than 12 inches from the ground.

Cutting trees in muskeg areas should be avoided.

People with questions about where National Forest land is located can contact the Juneau Ranger District at 586-8800.

The city allows a household to cut one Christmas tree per year from municipal lands. Trees can be cut along roadsides and beyond 50 feet of a hiking trail. Trees cannot be cut from city parks, recreational sites, schools, public facilities or muskeg areas where they are difficult to re-establish. Trees must be cut at ground level and should not be topped. Severed branches or pieces of trunk should be scattered.

The city has tried to duplicate the Forest Service rules in regard to cutting Christmas trees and firewood, City Lands Manager Steve Gilbertson said.

"People have informally (cut Christmas trees) on public land for years. I don't know that there's any particular spot that's better than others," he said.

No permit is required to cut on city property. Call 586-5252 with questions about where city land is located.

Joanna Markell can be reached at

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