Associate Minister Hunter joins Minister Dreeshen to cut the red tape on Alberta’s Christmas trees. (Photo submitted)

Associate Minister Hunter joins Minister Dreeshen to cut the red tape on Alberta’s Christmas trees. (Photo submitted)

Unwrapping red tape on Christmas

Opinion

Albertans can now get their own Christmas trees and firewood from Crown land for free.

The holiday season is here and families across Alberta are looking forward to the time-honoured tradition of visiting their local forests to gather firewood and to cut down their own Christmas tree.

But this year, things are going to be a little different.

During the 2019 election, we promised to cut red tape and we have done exactly that. In fact, in our first update, the government announced that we have cut red tape by more than six per cent. This year, we are unwrapping the red tape around harvesting Christmas trees and firewood.

Albertans can now enjoy this fun family tradition with their families for free. We’ve eliminated the $5 cost for the permit, saving Albertans $100,000 a year in unnecessary fees. Alberta’s 87 million acres of forest belong to us all, and spending time with family while picking the perfect Christmas tree is an important part of our province’s culture.

That’s why we’re making it easier for Albertans to enjoy it. For those that are considering this for the first time this year, your Personal Use Forest Products Permit is valid for 30 days and allows you to harvest up to:

• three Christmas trees;

• five cubic metres of firewood (approximately 3 full regular truck beds);

• five cubic metres of roundwood (often used for fence posts and rails); or

• 20 tree transplants.

With these changes, you’ll still need a permit to harvest Crown timber for personal use. If you’re caught without a permit or reselling Crown timber, you could face a fine, and possibly end up on Santa’s naughty list.

You can get your permit online or at your local forest area office. After accepting the terms and conditions, you’ll receive a map that shows you exactly where you can harvest Crown timber.

2020 has been an incredibly difficult year but this change will hopefully brighten up Christmas for so many Alberta families.

We encourage Albertans to go out and take their time 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.

Merry Christmas Alberta!

– Submitted by Hon. Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

READ MORE: ‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

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