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Harvesting your own Christmas tree in Alaska, it’s easy on State land

Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 5:29 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Christmas is almost here and it’s time to buy those gifts and put up the Christmas lights. Oh, and don’t forget the tree. While we can buy a fake tree at Wal-Mart, or even a real one at Home Depot, there is nothing quite as Alaskan as going out and cutting your own. Fortunately, it isn’t hard in Alaska.

On State forestry land, anyone can cut down a tree to use for their Christmas decorations. People don’t need a permit but Andrew Allaby, a resource forester for the Division of Forestry in Fairbanks, said that people are only allowed one tree per household and that it can’t be taller than 15 feet. He also said that the trees are only for personal use. Allaby also said that people can go onto the Division of Forestry website or call the office to get help finding out what is and isn’t State Forestry land.

We went out with Allaby as he cut down two trees for the DNR and Division of Forestry offices.

Andrew Allaby, a Resource Forester shakes snow off of a spruce tree he is thinking about...
Andrew Allaby, a Resource Forester shakes snow off of a spruce tree he is thinking about cutting for a Christmas tree.(John Dougherty/KTVF)

“Try to find something with a little bit more full of a crown. In a perfect world maybe it will have branches on every side,” Allaby said as he began looking for trees off of Standard Creek Road.

The first tree he found was growing next to another tree, “I kind of like this one, we will take one from here because it’s got two trees, they are both going to be stopping each other from growing,” Allaby said.

He cut the tree with a small pocket saw and brought it back to his truck. The entire process only took a few minutes. Allaby said that often, getting to a place you can cut a tree takes longer than actually harvesting the Christmas tree.

Allaby cutting the lower branches off of a freshly cut Christmas tree.
Allaby cutting the lower branches off of a freshly cut Christmas tree.(John Dougherty/KTVF)

Once the trees were cut, all that was left to do was load them up, drive back to town, and let it thaw.

“You just got to be careful not to break the branches on your way out, they are kind of brittle in the cold,” Allaby said.

Allaby loads his trees into his truck to bring back to the DNR offices to thaw and decorate.
Allaby loads his trees into his truck to bring back to the DNR offices to thaw and decorate.(John Dougherty/KTVF)

Then, it is ready to get the lights, ornaments, and star to make it perfectly yours.

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