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Make it a Special Occasion

Holiday Tree Hunting in the High Desert



With the holidays fast approaching, many Central Oregon families soon will be wanting an evergreen yuletide centerpiece for their home. Weather a visit to the national forest or to a corner lot fits the bill, this guide to finding the perfect timber (plus post-mortem options) should set everyone on their way to finding that ideal holiday icon.

Free-range National Forest Xmas Trees

For Brittney Sullivan, there was no question: looking for a tree meant a wilderness experience. She grabbed a Christmas cutting tree permit for Deschutes National Forest at her local hardware store and headed up the gravel road to Black Butte. There, alongside the road, she found her fir. "I like a small tree and one close to the road (because it won't be able to grow that big anyway)," Sullivan said. "Then I like to decorate it with tiny ornaments and fairy lights—that's all the branches can hold on the small trees I usually select. Lastly, a family photo in front of the trimmed tree is a must."

Sullivan said there are six essentials for a holiday tree hunt: a permit, a thermos of hot cocoa, extra layers of clothing, a camera, optional holiday music for the drive and for an optimal cut, the Sawzall (Makita cordless).

Permits are $5 each. For more information see: forestproducts/?cid=fsbdev3_035887

Alternative No Cut solstice tree

Being a socially responsible, thoughtful and conscientious father of two, Jason Rhodes, owner/operator of Palate Coffee, chose to fashion a reusable solstice tree out of a backyard felled hardwood for his family's seasonal celebration. The remnants were slated for the fire pit when Rhodes intercepted, cut the remains into ascending lengths, polished and stained them, set the pieces to rebar and arranged fallen pine boughs as a skirt.

"Attributes the family like about the tree include not having to take something out of nature when we are working so hard to preserve it. It's an artifact with symbolic emotion and meaning. We also celebrate the solstice which allows us to focus on the natural changes in the environment around us. We encourage the kids to forage for ornaments and decoration. This allows them to have agency and create their own traditions and symbols," explained Rhodes.

Before their solstice tree, the Rhodes family harvested fallen pine boughs for handmade wreaths.

Standard Stand Bought

Candy Cane Christmas Tree Company has been providing the Central Oregon region with convenient in-town holiday trees since 2005. A family operation, Darrell, Ron and the Buerger sons operate four stands in Bend and two in Redmond (at the same locations for many years). Ron says despite the state-wide shortage of trees this year, CCCTC will be selling at their usual locations and will offer their typical varieties: blue spruce, Nordman fir, noble fir, Douglas fir and possibly the Fraser and grand firs. Customers can look forward to a fresh cut on the trunk with their purchase and a full guide on how to care for the tree.

For updates and location listings: Tree-Co-171995527053/

Boy Scout After Holiday Pick-up

According to Robert Garderman with the Central Oregon Boy Scouts, for two consecutive Saturdays after Christmas, Central Oregonians can have their expired holiday trees removed and donate to the Boy Scouts all in one. By leaving your tree on your home lawn, near the road with an envelope or baggy containing $8, you can support local troops. Funds go to equipment and scout camp costs, especially for underprivileged participants.

For details, contact your local Boy Scout Troop, look for a flyer in your mailbox or just set your tree out on the appointed Saturdays.

No-charge Tree Recycling Landfill Style

Recycle your holiday tree for free, Dec. 26 through Jan. 31, when Christmas trees are accepted free of charge at the Knott Landfill Recycling Center and Southwest, Northwest, Negus and Alfalfa Transfer Stations from individual residents (no commercial vendors). The tree must not have any flocking, tinsel, ornaments, lights, metal or plastic bases.

About The Author

K.M. Collins

A native Oregonian, K.M. Collins is a geologist-gone-writer. Covering everything outdoors and a spectrum of journalism, she's a jack of all whitewater sports and her favorite beat is anything river related. Don't blow her cover as a freshwater mermaid amongst humans.

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