PORT ANGELES — Those looking for a more personal Christmas tree experience, or to continue a long-standing family tradition, can forego pre-cut trees and pick a fresh variety to cut down themselves.
There are various options available, from visiting a local tree farm to heading out into Olympic National Forest.
The second option requires a permit.
In Clallam County, there are two tree farms in place — Lazy J Tree Farm at 225 Gehrke Road off Old Olympic Highway, and Deer Park Christmas Tree Farm at 4227 Deer Park Road.
Lazy J Tree Farm is located midway between Port Angeles and Sequim.
It offers both pre-cut Christmas Trees and U-cut trees. Saws are provided.
Several varieties of trees — including Nordmann fir, noble Fir, Turkish Fir, Douglas Fir and sequoias — are available.
“They’ve got quite a selection out there,” said Steve Johnson, Lazy J Tree Farm owner.
“I cater to the U-Cut, which means I try to leave some of the best trees out there for” visitors.
An average tree will cost about $50, or $7.40 per foot, Johnson said, regardless of species.
“We didn’t differentiate species,” he said.
“We did that years ago and it gets pretty confusing so we just avoided that.”
Bargain trees also are available for $20, Johnson said.
The farm also sells apples, cider, potatoes, garlic, winter vegetables and holiday trinkets in an onsite barn, he said.
Lazy J was founded in 1960, Johnson said, and continues to draw repeat customers year after year.
“My dad actually put the first trees in the ground in 1960,” he said. “He had strawberries and raspberries before that for a few years.”
Now, “we are seeing grand kids and great-grand kids start to come in, which is great,” Johnson said.
“I think it is just plain fun for everybody to wander through the fields. It is a good winter time activity, [and] it is a good tradition.”
Plus, Johnson added, “you know how fresh it is.”
For more about Lazy J Tree Farm, visit www.lazyjtreefarms.com.
Deer Park Tree Farm is open during daylight hours through Dec. 24, and offers U-Cut trees and the materials needed to make Christmas wreaths.
Owner Ken Nattinger is providing trees only to return customers.
”We have a tree shortage,” he said. “This is the first year I’m just trying to make my return customers happy.
“The prices are the same as last year.”
National Forest Service Christmas tree permits currently are on sale for $5 — but fourth-graders can get permits for their families for free.
Permits are good for one U-cut tree on Olympic National Forest through Dec. 23. Credit cards, cash and checks are accepted.
Permits can be purchased at any Olympic National Forest office during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, excluding federal holidays — with special weekend hours at different locations.
Here are the offices:
• Hood Canal Ranger District — 295142 S. U.S. Highway 101, Quilcene; 360-765-2200.
• Pacific Ranger District, Forks office — 437 Tillicum Lane; 360-374-6522.
• Pacific Ranger District, Quinault office — 353 S. Shore Road; 360-288-2525.
• Olympic National Forest headquarters — 1835 Black Lake Blvd. S.W., Olympia; 360-956-2402. Special hours will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 and Saturday, Dec. 17.
• Hoodsport Visitor Information Center — 150 N. Lake Cushman Road, Hoodsport; 360-877-2021. Weekend hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and from noon to 3 p.m. Sundays.
Fourth-graders can receive free permits through the Every Kid in a Park initiative.
To receive a free tree permit, a student must present in person a valid paper voucher printed from the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov or a current Every Kid in a Park pass.
The Every Kid in a Park initiative is a national effort to encourage children to visit national parks, forests and public lands. As part of the initiative, all fourth-graders in the country can obtain a paper pass for free entry into all federal lands and waters by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website.
For more information or additional special hours, call 360-956-2402.
Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected].