The perfect Christmas tree awaits |

The perfect Christmas tree awaits

Jeff Dempsey, The Park Record

There is no need for a Griswold family-style Christmas tree hunting debacle this year — for those willing to get up a little early, that is.

Christmas tree permits for the Heber-Kamas Ranger District will be on sale starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov.7 at the Soldier Hollow Lodge, 2002 Olympic Dr. in Midway. There are only 1,000 available each day, however, and Spokeswoman Kathy Jo Pollock said they go quickly.

"It’s extremely popular," she said. "Some individuals actually camp out in the parking lot. The recommendation is they should get there by 5 a.m. or a little earlier."

Why 2,000 permits? Pollock said that’s the number of sub-alpine fir trees the forest service determined could be safely cut from the area each year without making an impact. The sub-alpine fir is a popular type of Christmas tree, Pollock added, which is one reason the event is so popular every year. For many locals, she said, it has also become tradition.

"It is the closest area to the Wasatch Front and it’s a great way for families to spend a day enjoying the great outdoors and picking the perfect Christmas tree for their homes," she said. "And many families have done this for years — it’s a family tradition."

Pollock said the rangers enjoy the permit sale weekend almost as much as the families who come out hoping to snag one.

"It’s a fun weekend," she said. "Seeing individuals who are return tree cutters, and first-time tree cutters."

Permits cost $10 and will be sold to adults age 16 and up on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who receive permits will have until Dec. 24 to cut one sub-alpine fir 20 feet tall or shorter. A word of caution from Pollock, though — be prepared before heading out.

"Depending on how much snow there is they may have to hike through snow, cross-country ski, snowshoe or snowmobile in," she said. "Take a shovel in case there is a lot of snow since tree stumps should not be higher than 6 inches from the ground.

"Carry waterproof matches, extra food, water, first-aid-kit, flashlight, map, compass, whistle, extra clothing, (rain gear/cold weather gear) and a cell phone, if available."

Be sure to leave a trip itinerary with family or friends, she said, have a check-in/check-out plan, and above all — have fun.

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