Black Press file photo

Black Press file photo

Christmas tree permits now available online

Free-use permits must be held in order to chop down a tree on Crown land

Permits are now available for British Columbians hoping to head out on Crown land to find the perfect Christmas tree.

Locals hoping to chop down an evergreen before Dec. 25 should obtain a permit online or by contacting the local natural resource district office at 322 Johnston Ave. or (250) 992-4400.

According to a recent press release from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, free-use permits are provided for personal use only. It is illegal to sell a tree cut under a Christmas tree permit or to cut a tree in an unauthorized area.

Cutting down a Christmas tree without a permit could result in confiscation of the tree and charges under the Forest and Range Practices Act.

The Ministry of Forests offers the following advice when cutting a Christmas tree:

Leave home prepared. Bring ropes, gloves, tools, tire chains, a first-aid kit, a mobile phone and warm clothing.

Drive carefully. Be prepared for logging trucks.

Make sure you have found the tree you will use before cutting. Some permits specify only one tree can be cut.

Do not leave a pointed stump, as this may cause injury to livestock, wildlife, pets or other people.

Choose a tree that can be cut near the base and is easy to transport. Wasted tree remains left in the forest can form a summer fire hazard.

Clean up and remove all debris associated with your activity.

Members of the public are reminded to check online maps provided by districts to ensure they are cutting within a designated area.