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Cutting Christmas trees banned in local national forests

November 29, 2012 | 12:13 pm

Photo: A family in Redding picks out trees at the Shasta College Tree Farm on Nov. 24. Credit: Greg Barnette / Record Searchlight

Although the U.S. Forest Service has issued suggestions for "safe holiday tree-cutting" on federal land in other parts of the country, Christmas tree chopping is prohibited in the Angeles National Forest, officials said Thursday.

"Trees from your national forest brighten homes across the country every year," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in a statement released this week in Washington, urging people to "follow safe cutting practices" when they take out their axes in federal forests.

But that advice is not applicable for the mountains above Los Angeles.

"We don't issue permits for cutting Christmas trees," said John Wagner, a spokesman for the Angeles National Forest.

In fact, officials are on the alert for illegal tree choppers. In past years, rangers have cited tree poachers, who face $500 fines, plus a surcharge three times the estimated value of the tree and a potential six-month jail sentence.

Gathering holly, cedar boughs and mistletoe in the national forest for commercial purposes is also a no-no.

Local forestry officials say pine trees are planted along mountain roads to prevent erosion. In arid Southern California, it takes about 25 years for a pine tree in the wild to grow to the size of a typical 8-foot Christmas tree.

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-- Bob Pool

Photo: A family in Redding picks out trees at the Shasta College Tree Farm on Nov. 24. Credit: Greg Barnette / Record Searchlight

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