Friday, October 21, 2005/lk
Like you, I've been enjoying the fall colors here in the valley along with the warm temperatures that makes October almost feel like spring.
But there are reminders of the approaching holidays as I've already seen a few Christmas-related store displays beckoning alongside Halloween fare.
Along with the Christmas shopping, though, there's also Christmas (tree) chopping which begins as early as November for many folks.
Now, packing up the family sleigh to cut down a holiday tree on your property is still legal, I hear. But when I heard about a recent district court decision in California (where else?), I began to wonder.
Seems that particular court thinks the U.S. Forest Service should require a public comment period before Christmas tree cutting permits are issued on national forest lands.
That's a 30-day comment period, mind you, which, if implemented, means the two months between now and Christmas suddenly seem pretty short. Especially if a person was planning to head out next month to one of our Ranger Districts for a tree.
Can you picture a worst-case scenario for folks just wanting to purchase a permit for their Christmas tree?
Well, let's try - with lots of imagination and fictional characters thrown in for good measure.
"We the Forest Uber-Legal Symposium (FULS) wish to comment in opposition to a permit application to remove trees for personal use from our sacred National Forest.
"As FULS we specifically note that the proponents - Billy, age 7, and Sally, age 5 - along with their parents have not provided mitigating measures for removal of said tree.
"As FULS we find it appalling that Billy and Sally have not indicated any means to rehabilitate the tree stump once its top is removed.
"Therefore, we the undersigned members of FULS vigorously oppose taking the life of said tree."
Okay, the above is an exaggeration, but there is a very real likelihood the Forest Service will be required to establish a 30-day comment period - open to both proponents and opponents - for this Christmas tree season.
Who knows, at this rate maybe someday the eternal question - "paper or plastic?" - will apply to Christmas trees.