Monday, November 21, 2011

Go chopping not shopping!

For over a decade my family has been chopping in lieu of shopping the weekend following Thanksgiving. The National Forest Service offers many sites and invites citizens to purchase a tree-chopping permit for $10 each on select dates and select areas in Colorado.

Tree hunting when the girls were little.

This program is a win-win for all. Families get a real Rocky Mountain experience, roaming the woods for their holiday tree while helping the rangers manage the forests from devastating fires by removing excess fuel.

We go to the Buffalo Creek area just south of Pine, CO, about 40 minutes outside of Denver. If you’re interested in making this a tradition, contact The South Platte Ranger District. If you’re not in Denver, they can direct you to a site near you.

Pack Thanksgiving leftovers, hot chocolate and gingerbread.

There is no comparison to a day in the quiet woods to that of a crowded mall. One year, we came ten feet within a gray fox. We stared at the other for what seemed like ten minutes, though it was probably more like ten seconds. I felt so honored and am most certain I thought a lot more of him than he of me.

The gray fox almost looks feline and is the only canine that can climb trees.

Have a relaxing Thanksgiving and ensure that it has some element to allow you to reflect. These are such hard times. I just heard today on Colorado NPR that Food Stamp enrollment is up 80% in Colorado since 2008. Perhaps a little more balance is needed in our country and the world. If only…

Until that balance can come to fruition, turn to traditions such as our holiday tree hunt for comfort.

If you live in another state and participate in a similar state or federal ranger-sponsored program, please share details in the comments.

1 comment:

Amber said...

My husband and I chop down our own tree, too! We're in Northern CO, so we head up to Red Feather. I love hunting for the perfect tree and working together to chop it down. We usually try to snap a little family photo of the two of us as well; it makes for a perfect holiday snap shot to include in our emailed holiday greeting. Cheers!