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Alberta removes $5 fee for harvesting Christmas trees

The Alberta government has removed the $5.00 fee for harvesting up to three Christmas trees from Crown land for personal use.

The province says eliminating the fee will save Albertans almost $100,000 and make it easier for individuals to get their own Christmas trees and firewood from Alberta’s 87 million acres of forested land.

“I hope Albertans take the time to go out with their families to find the perfect Christmas tree this year,” says Devin Dreeshan, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. “Alberta has so much to offer and we’re blessed to live in the most free and open place in the world.”

To cut a tree, a Personal Use Forest Products Permit is required and can be obtained online. For a confirmation email that includes a digital version of the permit, Albertans must click “view” after completing all steps.

“The Christmas tree is an important symbol of hope and joy this coming Christmas season,” says Grant Hunter, Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction. “By cutting red tape and adopting a best practice, we’re giving a little light to Albertans whose tradition includes retrieving their own trees.”

A Personal Use Forest Products Permit is valid for 30 days. During that 30-day period, the permit holder may harvest up to:
• three Christmas trees
• five cubic metres of firewood
• five cubic metres of roundwood, often used for fence posts and rails
• 20 tree transplants

Five cubic metres represents about three level truckloads.

In 2019, the province sold 8,353 permits for Christmas trees.

Getting a permit before harvesting Crown timber is still the law. Permits help preserve forests for generations to come by keeping track of the number of trees being harvested, outlining rules to be followed, and ensuring that public harvesting is done safely. The Personal Use Forest Products Permit is for small-scale personal use only. Any timber harvested with this permit is not for resale.

Harvesting without a permit or selling Crown timber are contraventions under Forests Act Section 10 and Timber Management Regulation Section 68. The penalty ranges from a minimum of $50 to several thousand dollars based on the amount of timber harvested. If the volume of timber is significant, the Crown is authorized by the Forests Act to seize all of the harvested volume and could pursue prosecution.

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