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With Christmas Trees In Short Supply, Idaho Suggests DIY Approach

Boise National Forest
Families trek to the forest every year to harvest their own Christmas tree.

Word around the Northwest from some vendors is that there could be a shortage of real Christmas trees this year. That could lead to higher prices. But the National Forest Service says they have plenty of trees just waiting for families to take home while also making memories.

Drought, wildfires and fewer people growing them are all contributing to a lack of trees for sale in the Northwest. But the Boise and Payette National Forests sell $10 permits each year to anyone who wants to head into the backcountry for their tree.

Venetia Gempler is with the Boise National Forest and says it’s an important event for many families who come back year after year.

“This is another opportunity for them to create a family tradition and go out and cut their own tree,” Gempler says.

There are some rules, including not cutting too close to the road or any tree over 12 feet tall. And she says don’t cut down trees in parts of the forest that have been hit by wildfire.

“We really need that stock to help with future generations, that natural regeneration, so in those burned areas we need every green tree to survive out there,” says Gempler.

Gempler also warns snow comes early in the forest, so be prepared for winter driving conditions.

Tree permits go on sale at local vendors November 18 and forest service offices November 20 and are valid through Christmas. Fourth-grade students who are part of a special park program can get a free permit for a tree.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio

As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life!). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.

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