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By Tom Paulson
City Editor 

Want to Cut Your Own Fresh Christmas Tree? Here's How

Lake Wales Ridge State Forest Renews Annual Tree Cutting Permit Program


Last updated 12/7/2021 at 9:29pm

The Florida Forest Service offices are located at County Road 630, just east of Frostproof, and are open to issue permits beginning this Friday at 8:00 am. The Lake Wales Ridge State Forest serves to protect several rare or endangered species.

In a year where a shortage of Christmas trees is a looming nationwide problem, hardy individuals are fortunate to have another affordable solution available: cut your own at the Walk-in-the water tract of the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest.

Photo courtesy Florida Forest Service

Hiking is a popular activity for visitors at the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest

In a program offered annually at the nearby public lands, Lake Wales area residents are able to cut their own tree, but they have to use a hand-saw to do the work. No power tools are allowed in the forest. A tree-cutting permit costs only $10, a great deal when fresh trees cut in other states and brought to Florida cost far more.

Available trees are 10 feet to 15 feet tall, but may be trimmed back to the desired size after leaving the forest.

Obtaining a permit requires a visit to the on-site Florida Forest Service Headquarters on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday beginning November 29. The office is located within the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest, at 851 County Road 630, just east of Frostproof, and north of Lake Reedy. Look for a brown wooden sign on the north side of the road and follow it to the park office, which is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.


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