Powell couple Corey Lynn and Tammy Bond don’t want to hear about Christmas until after the Thanksgiving turkey is carved and consumed. But once the juicy slabs of the bird were moved from …
Powell couple Corey Lynn and Tammy Bond don’t want to hear about Christmas until after the Thanksgiving turkey is carved and consumed. But once the juicy slabs of the bird were moved from elegant dinner plates to plastic containers and designated leftovers, they open the floodgates on their yuletide traditions. First, they need a tree.
Lynn has been making an annual trek to the Shoshone National Forest for a Christmas tree most of his life. There’s nothing like bringing loved ones together in the mountains to begin the season, he said.
“It’s a real tree,” he said. “You get to go pick it and spend time together up here.”
Lynn has been sharing his love for harvesting a live tree with Bond since they fell in love. She wasn’t so sure about the tradition at first.
“I thought it was crazy,” she said. “We had to tromp through a lot of deep snow.”
And, she said, picking out a tree is not as easy as you think. “You can’t settle on just the first tree you see. You have to give them a good look to make sure it’s perfect.”
That means a nice drive to the mountains and a long walk in the woods after the Thanksgiving feast. This year they included Bond’s son, Dalton, his girlfriend Aurora Owens and, of course, Cooter and Daisy, the couples’ German shorthairs. It was their first time making the trip, while visiting from Laramie for the long weekend. Daisy ran large circles around the couples, soaking up the fresh air and ample space, while Cooter kept a watchful eye.
Finding their target was fairly easy this year. There wasn’t much snow on the ground and they were sheltered from the wind by the thick grove of evergreens for the most part — although the crispness bit at their hands. The foursome hiked the slopes near the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway while Tammy and Aurora shopped the best trees.
Corey brought the chainsaw and Dalton’s plan was simple “I’m just going to do whatever my mom says,” he confessed.
The Shoshone National Forest offers annual personal-use Christmas tree permits at the cost of $8 per tree (up to 20 feet in height). Tammy got her permit online after finding the Good 2 Go station in Ralston had sold out.
There’s a limit of five trees per household and are for personal use only. Of the fees, 95% are retained by the forest, which offers many fine suggestions on how to safely harvest a tree on its website. The forest also offers some tips to help keep the tradition alive in the future. For instance, choose a tree that is growing with other trees in a cluster: “Leave the perfect trees to grow and provide for a healthy genetic source for the future forest,” the instructions read.
The Powell couple chose a nice tree, but it had a bit of a flat side.
“We can put that side against the wall,” Bond said.
When finished, the Forest Service asks tree harvesters to leave the site looking as undisturbed as possible, packing out trash and scattering branches not being taken. All areas on the Shoshone National Forest are open to harvesting Christmas trees.
The Bighorn National Forest also sells tree permits. They’re the same price, but the height limit is 10 feet.
Permits may also be purchased online at www.recreation.gov/tree-permits.