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Province removes $5 fee for harvesting Christmas trees on Crown land

Over 8,300 permits sold in 2019
The provincial government has taken away the $5 fee to harvest a Christmas tree from Crown land, although a permit is still required. File photo.

LAKELAND - On Thursday, the Government of Alberta announced it would be removing the $5 fee for harvesting up to three Christmas trees from Crown land, for personal use, as a way to cut red tape.

The province stated that eliminating the fee could save Albertans about $100,000, and makes it easier for people to get their own Christmas trees and firewood from Crown land.

“I hope Albertans take the time to go out with their families to find the perfect Christmas tree this year. Alberta has so much to offer and we’re blessed to live in the most free and open place in the world," said Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

In 2018, there were 8,116 permits sold for Christmas trees, and 8,353 sold in 2019.

Through the Personal Use Forest Products Permit, Albertans can get a map of where they can go to access trees. Permits can be obtained online. For a confirmation email that includes a digital version of the permit, Albertans must click 'view' after completing all steps.

A Personal Use Forest Products Permit is valid for 30 days. During that 30-day period, the permit holder may harvest up to three Christmas trees, five cubic metres of firewood, five cubic metres of roundwood, often used for fence posts and rails, and 20 tree transplants.

Getting a permit before harvesting Crown timber is required by law.

"Permits help preserve our forests for generations to come by keeping track of the number of trees being harvested, outlining rules to be followed and ensuring that public harvesting is done safely," according to the Government of Alberta. The Personal Use Forest Products Permit is for small-scale personal use only. Any timber harvested with this permit cannot be sold.

“The Christmas tree is an important symbol of hope and joy this coming Christmas season. By cutting red tape and adopting a best practice, we’re giving a little light to Albertans whose tradition includes retrieving their own trees," said Grant Hunter, Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction.