By Ronald Quaroni
Families looking to start some, “Clark Grisworld,” style Christmas traditions may want to head to the Prince Albert National Park.
Until Dec. 24, the Prince Albert National Park and the Waskesiu Wilderness region are inviting people to harvest young Spruce and Jack Pine trees to use as their Christmas trees.
Ecologist with the park, Dustin Guedo, explained why removing the trees helps the community of Waskesiu.
“We’ve created this community fuel break as a way to help us combat wildfires if they were to ever threaten Waskesiu,” said Guedo.
He added, interested tree hunters should make sure they are cutting down trees in the right area.
“If you’re unsure of where to collect trees please go to the Visitors Center. There the staff will be able to clearly show you designated areas to collect.”
He said the best trees can be found on their own in the open areas of the fuel break where they are exposed to lots of sun.
Cathy Corrigal with the park mentioned the cost of a permit is very reasonable.
“There is no cost, what they have to do is come into the Visitor’s Center and get a free tree permit,” said Corrigal.
“The visitor center is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday and open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.”
Corrigal noted that chainsaws are not permitted in the park so interested tree harvesters should remember to bring their own axes and saws.
To enter Prince Albert National Park you will need to pay a park entry fee, unless you are planning to attend the O’ Christmas Tree Festival, which takes place Dec 14 to16 in Waskesiu.
The annual event features sleigh rides, tree carving, snow taffy demonstrations, Indigenous art, and of course a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
For more details on the O’ Christmas Tree Festival visit the Waskesiu and Area Wilderness Regions Facebook page.