While many of us may have dreams of pulling out the perfect Clark W. Griswold-style tree from the woods, Alberta Wildfire is reminding residents that there are rules to remember before carving Christmas out of Crown Land.
Wildfire Information Officer Kelly Burke says the free permit system for cutting down Christmas trees is once again available in 2021, but, as always, it comes with a few caveats. Included in the fine print of the permits is a limit of three trees per permit, and the trees you choose to take home must remain under a height limit.
“You can only cut trees that are eight feet or less, so don’t be cutting anything that is super tall, and you cut the top off,” she says.
“You don’t want to cut trees on private, or in parks, public parks, or provincial parks… if you go online, it’s simple and the mapping is very good, it shows you where you’re allowed to go and where you’re not,” she adds.
Burke says while they are working on the honour system, officials say those looking to take advantage for personal gain could face some pretty stiff penalties if caught.
“You could get fined… sometimes people are unknowing, and I think you would get a lighter offense, but if you’re cutting trees and selling them for profit, you would get a higher fine,” she adds.
She says while they encourage people to find that perfect tree, those venturing into the woods must keep safety top of mind.
“Make sure you have safety gear in the car, extra clothes, a charged cellphone so if you do break down you can call for help,” she says. “Get something closer to the roadside, so you don’t have to pull it as far.”
You can apply for a permit on the Government of Alberta website.