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Metro Creative Connection

Hunting for the perfect Christmas tree this season might take you to a Boy Scouts’ tree lot or to Grand Mesa, where you can cut down your own.

To those who pulled their Christmas tree out of storage and got it set up in less than 30 minutes, we congratulate you. We are sure it looks beautiful.

But it’s still fake!

Those who prefer a tree with a real wood trunk and piney smell have several options as they hunt for a Christmas tree.

It is perfectly acceptable to purchase a tree at a grocery store or hardware store, however there are three places that stand out when it comes to Christmas trees. Here are the details:

SUPPORT LOCAL YOUTH

If you usually purchase your Christmas tree at a local Boy Scouts’ tree lot, this year you better be on the ball.

Troops 318 and 328 will operate the only Boy Scouts’ tree lot in town.

It opens at 8 a.m. Black Friday, Nov. 26, in the parking lot of American Furniture Warehouse, 2570 American Way.

There will be 300 trees — Balsam fir, black hill spruce, Douglas fir and Fraiser fir from Dutchmen Tree Farms in Michigan — ranging in price from $65 to $215.

There also will be wreaths and sprays for sale starting at $30.

“The proceeds from the tree lot sales benefit each Scout troop covering supplies, dues, camping, merit badges, education, etc,” according to Brandi Vigil with the Boy Scout troops.

The tree lot will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Black Friday. After that, it will be open from 4–8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4–9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The biggest trees tend to sell the fastest, Vigil said.

Usually the trees are gone by Dec. 18, Vigil said, but that might be different this year.

Boy Scout Troop 303, which usually sets up a tree lot in the former Sutherlands parking lot, isn’t able to do so this year. Instead, the scouts will offer a tree collection service after the holiday season as an alternative fundraiser.

Tree collection by the scouts will be offered Jan. 8–15 for donation. Those interesting in having their tree picked up should email susanhelgesen@gmail.com.

CUT IT YOURSELF

Nothing smells more like the holidays than a freshly cut Christmas tree from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest.

Bringing one home requires a more effort and planning, but it can be a fun adventure.

You’ll need a tree permit from the U.S. Forest Service, a map of cutting locations, a saw, snow gear, rope to secure the tree to your vehicle and plenty of hot chocolate to keep everyone on the tree hunt warm.

Permits cost $8 and can be purchased in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays at the Grand Valley Ranger District office, 1010 Kimball Ave., as well as during business hours at Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply in Clifton and Odin Gear Depot in Mesa.

To purchase a permit online, go to recreation.gov and search for “Grand Mesa Christmas Tree.”

If you’ve got a fourth-grader in the household, a voucher for a free holiday tree permit can be obtained through the Every Kid Outdoors program. Go to everykidoutdoors.gov for information about the program and voucher.

It’s also highly recommended that you pick up a map at the district office, vendor location or online maps show suggested areas for Christmas tree cutting on Grand Mesa — trees can’t be cut in certain areas, such as recreational or ski areas, commercial timber sales areas and scenic pullouts.

Trees must be cut 100 feet or more from any road or trail, be less than 20 feet tall with a trunk no greater than 6 inches in diameter. The stump left behind should be no higher than 6 inches. Topping trees — taking the top off a tree and leaving behind the bottom with limbs attached — is not allowed.

As soon as it’s cut, tag your tree for the trip home.

Be sure to check the weather before you head out, and go at a time that will give you the most daylight for your adventure.

For information and links to purchasing a permit or downloading a map, go to bit.ly/30LnC4w.

GO FARTHER AFIELD

To mix cutting down your own Christmas tree with some festive holiday touches, consider the Covered Bridge Ranch just south of Montrose.

You can select and cut down your Christmas tree on the ranch’s Christmas tree farm from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays through Sundays from Friday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Dec. 19.

A tractor-drawn wagon will take you to and from the tree farm. While you hang out at the campfire marshmallow roast or visit farm animals (Clydesdales, sheep, alpacas, goats and more), your tree will be prepped and loaded onto your vehicle.

You also can visit the wreath decorating barn to purchase a holiday wreath made to your specifications, go by the gift shop or get some hot chocolate and other treats at the concession cabin (open Saturdays and Sundays only).

The cost of your tree depends on the tree you select — a guide at coveredbridgeranch.com puts Austrian pine in the least expensive category and Colorado blue spruce, Douglas fir and balsam fir in the more expensive category.

Covered Bridge Ranch can be found at 17249 6250 Road (Dave Wood Road) in Montrose.

For information, along with directions and map to download, go to coveredbridgeranch.com.