The San Juan National Forest has announced the return of its annual Christmas tree permits.
Through Dec. 31, a permit allows national forest visitors to cut down one tree, up to 20 feet tall. Each permit comes with a brochure detailing where you can and can not harvest trees and safety tips for winter travel.
The brochure also identifies what types of trees can be cut - like white fir, subalpine fir, and spruce - and what types should not.
White fir trees are an ideal Christmas tree not only for their natural fragrance but because thinning the shade-tolerant tree helps reduce the risk of fire spreading to the canopy. Trees like the pinyon pine, however, should not be cut to allow for regeneration in the forest.
Roads in the national forest are not plowed, so snow-packed and icy conditions are expected.
Permits are $8 and can be purchased at national forest offices, including the Dolores Ranger District Office at 29211 Highway 184. Permits are also available at Dolores Outfitters, Cox's Corner Store in Lewis, and Cox Conoco in Mancos.