With just a little more than 90 days until Christmas, the U.S. Forest Service says it is time to start planning for Christmas tree cutting on Arizona National Forests. On Oct. 9, 6,375 Christmas tree tags will go on sale.
Partnerships with vendors such as Big 5 Sporting Goods stores have made it convenient for forest users to purchase their Christmas tree tags in numerous locations and will continue this year. In addition to Big 5 locations, new locations in the high country have been added: Western Drug in Springerville and Creekside Steakhouse outside of Payson.
Tags are $15 and tree cutting commences on Nov. 20 and goes through Dec. 24. Forest Service offices will begin selling permits Oct. 12, (because of federal office closures on Oct. 11).
Five Arizona forests participate in the Christmas tree tag program: Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto national forests. Below are their contact numbers, number of tags and the tree species available.
• Apache-Sitgreaves, all species trees, 4,600 tags, 928-333-4301
• Coconino, fir trees, 250 tags, 928-527-3600
• Kaibab, pinon or juniper, 1,000 tags, 928-635-5600
• Prescott, all species trees, 225 tags, 928-443-8000
• Tonto, pinon or juniper, 300 tags, 602-225-5200
“Arizonans have made Christmas tree cutting a ritual for many years and the program is taken very seriously.” Apache-Sitgreaves, the new Christmas tag administrator for the program, is excited to keep this very popular program ongoing,” said Pam Baltimore, Apache-Sitgreaves public affairs officer.