By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The permits cost $5 each — payable by cash or check only — and can be purchased during regular business hours Mondays through Fridays, with special weekend hours at some locations.
Each permit allows the holder to cut one tree from the forest.
Permits must be purchased from the district offices for the area in which the tree will be cut.
Maps and information about cutting locations will be provided with each sale. Not all parts of Olympic National Forest are open to Christmas tree cutting.
Permits can be purchased at:
n Hood Canal Ranger District Office in Quilcene at 295142 U.S. Highway 101 S.
The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from this Sunday through Dec. 16.
The mailing address is P.O. Box 280, Quilcene, WA 98376. For more information, phone 360-765-2200.
n orks Recreation Information Center, 551 S. Forks Ave., which is also U.S. Highway 101.
The joint U.S. Forest Service/National Park Service office — not to be confused with the Forks Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center — is open between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
For more information, phone 360-374-6522.
Mail-order permits are available by downloading the form at http://tinyurl.com/pdn-trees.
Make $5 checks payable to the Forest Service and send to the district office for the area in which the tree will be cut.
Peninsula Daily News
Two U-cut tree farms on the North Olympic Peninsula are bustling with business as Christmas draws near.
Additionally, U-cut permits for specified areas of Olympic National Forest are being sold at visitor centers in Quilcene and Forks.
For those who want less of a hike in the woods, Deer Park Tree Farm at 4227 Deer Park Road southeast of Port Angeles and the Lazy J Tree Farm at 225 Gehrke Road between Port Angeles and Sequim are open seven days a week from dawn to dusk.
Each charges $6 per vertical foot of tree.
Both offer noble fir, Douglas fir, grand fir, Turkish fir, spruce, pine and other varieties of evergreens.
“The colors are great this year,” said Ken Nattinger, owner of Deer Park Tree Farm, located about 4 miles up Deer Park Road off U.S. Highway 101.
Nattinger said the trees are “almost iridescent” with deep shades of blue and green.
“I like to claim it was my fertilizer, but I bet you it was the [cool] summer,” he said.
Nattinger caps the price at $40 per tree, which makes for good deals on trees in the 8-foot-to-14-foot range.
“We have a substantial amount of large trees this year,” he said.
“We have noble fir, Douglas fir, grand fir, scotch pine and white pine.”
People who want a dense tree often go with Douglas fir, said Nattinger, who has sold Christmas trees on a portion of his 120-acre farm for about 20 years.
Others who want to display ornaments on a more open tree often select a noble fir.
“People choose different trees,” Nattinger said. “It depends on each person individually.”
The Lazy J Tree Farm in Agnew is the oldest U-cut Christmas tree farm on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Owner Steve Johnson said he has a big stock of the popular 6-foot to 8-foot-tall trees.
“It's been fairly busy,” he said. “Noble fir has been going out of here big time.”
Johnson has been running the 60-acre, 52-year-old tree farm since his father died in 1970. He said this year's crop has both quality and quantity.
“It seems like they're really nice trees this year,” Johnson said. “They're at different stages of growth, but there's always something ready to go.”
Lazy J is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saws are provided at both U-cut farms.
While most families opt for trees that can fit under a standard roof, Johnson sells plenty of larger trees, too.
Discount trees are marked with tags.
In addition to Christmas trees, Lazy J sells natural wreaths, boughs, organic apples, potatoes, garlic, local honey, soap and berry preserves.
Lazy J also provides Christmas trees to area businesses and Boy Scout troops.
Johnson and Nattinger both receive their share of repeat customers, to whom the U-cut experience is part of their holiday tradition.
“It's a clientele I really enjoy dealing with,” Nattinger said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at email@example.com.