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Permits available for Christmas trees

Five dollars covers one fresh-cut or living tree from national forest

Here’s a sign of Christmas creep – the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is advertising Christmas tree permits for sale.

The $5 permits went on sale the day after Halloween, although some customers were asking for them weeks earlier.

“It’s still pretty darn early,” acknowledged Robin DeMario, a forest spokeswoman.

Most of the early buyers are super-organized folks who want to have their permit in hand well before the busy holiday season, she said. Other early buyers prefer high-elevation trees, such as subalpine fir, and want to cut their trees before deep snow limits road access, she added.

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest sold nearly 6,300 Christmas tree permits last year. DeMario said the highest volume of permits sell during the week of Thanksgiving and the following week.

Both the Colville and the Idaho Panhandle National Forests also have Christmas tree permits for sale. They’re available at the Colville National Forest’s supervisor’s office in Colville, and all offices of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

“I sold my first one yesterday,” said Tracy Bohon, a receptionist for the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

Each permit is good for one fresh-cut tree, or a small, live tree dug from the national forest. Households are limited to two permits in the Colville and Okanogan-Wenatchee forests, three in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

Christmas tree permits may be placed on the driver’s dashboard in lieu of a Northwest Forest Pass when vehicles are parked at trail heads requiring a pass. But once enough snow accumulates and selected parking areas convert to Sno-Parks, vehicles must have a valid Washington state Sno-Park permit displayed.

This story has been changed to update the number of permits sold in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest; incorrect information was initially provided to the reporter.

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