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From Fairbanks to Southcentral, tips for cutting a Christmas tree

By KTVA CBS 11 News 2:37 PM December 15, 2013

Alaskans can cut Christmas trees on public lands ranging from the Tanana Valley to the Chugach National Forest.

ANCHORAGE – Across Alaska, the Division of Forestry allows residents to cut Christmas trees from select public lands during the holiday season.

In the Mat-Su Valley, cutting is permitted on state lands within the Matanuska Valley Moose Range. The Department of Natural Resources said the Chugach National Forest is also open for cutting with the exception of Portage Valley, Turnagain Pass, Moose Pass and Cooper Landing.

Alaskans in the Fairbanks area can cut trees from the Tanana Valley State Forest — not the Bonanaza Creek Experimental Forest, Zasada Road or Rosie Creek Road.

The department said trees are for personal use only and limited to one per family. In the Chugach National Forest, trees must be cut at least 450 feet away from roads, trailheads, campgrounds and bodies of water. In the Tanana Valley forest, department guidelines limit Christmas tree height to 15 feet or less.

State officials said DNR doesn’t maintain any roads or parking areas for Christmas tree cutting: Alaskans should be prepared to travel off-road by foot or snow machine.

In ideal conditions, the department said spruce trees can retain their needles for an average of 25 days. Because tree branches break easily in cold temperatures, forestry officials caution against dragging Christmas trees through the snow. They also recommend keeping trees in a humid environment away from heat sources, and said cutting an extra inch or two off the trunk before placing the tree in water allows for maximum water intake.

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