Thinking about cutting down your own Christmas tree? Before you head out to the backcountry to find the perfect tree, be sure to familiarize yourself with the province’s guidelines which include getting a permit.
According to the province of BC’s website, members of the public who wish to cut a Christmas tree on Crown land for personal use must have a Free Use Permit for a Christmas Tree from the natural resource district they intend to cut, signed by the appropriate District Manager or designate.
In Kimberley, you must acquire a permit from the Rocky Mountain Resource District. The permit can be found online on the province’s website at gov.bc.ca under natural resources, Christmas tree permits.
There is no charge for the permit, however permittees must be 19 years or older, carry the permit at all times, read and understand the conditions of the permit prior to signing, and produce the permit at the request of a Natural Resource Officer, Conservation Officer or Peace Officer.
“Please be aware that some areas of the province may not have Christmas trees available for harvest,” explains the website. “In addition, you cannot cut a tree from private lands, plantations, research areas, parks, areas adjacent to rivers, streams, lakes or swamps, juvenile-spaced areas and any other areas reserved for a special use.”
Preferred locations are Crown land on power line right-of-ways and within three meters of the driving surface of a Forest Service Road or within the cleared road right-of-way.
In terms of specifications, these are the guidelines to follow when cutting your own tree:
– Cut only one tree per family, the tree is for personal use only (you cannot sell it).
– The tree must be more than five meters in height.
– Cut the tree as close to the ground as possible and leave no live branches on the stump.
– Do not leave a pointed stump as this may cause injury to livestock, wildlife, pets or humans.
– Do not cut a big tree only to use the top portion, besides being wasteful the portion left behind is a fire hazard.
– Leave the area as clean as possible, do not leave the leftover stems and branches alongside roads or ditches.
– Do not transport your tree out of province.
The province also recommends the following safety tips when cutting your own tree:
– Be prepared for winter road conditions on the roads, many forest service Roads will have heavy industrial traffic, even on the weekends. (read the resource safety guide before using a logging road).
– Leave home prepared. Bring ropes, gloves, tools, tire chains, a first aid kit, a mobile phone and warm clothing.
– If planning to cut a tree from a BC Hydro right-of-way please read and honour the following guidelines provided by BC Hydro:
– Do not cut or remove any trees that may be within seven metres of an electrical conductor. Take special care when travelling or cutting in the vicinity of electrical works such as towers, poles, transformers and guy wires.
– Cut all trees off flat with the stump no higher than 10 centimetres. Clean up and remove all debris and slash associated with your activity.
– Leave all access roads in good condition.
– You are fully responsible for yourself and anyone who is with you.