.christmas treePeople – I know it’s the holiday season and you want to get back to your roots and put up a Christmas tree in your apartment – but please, please, please don’t drive into the Angeles National Forest to cut one down.

In other parts of the country, population centers are smaller and trees grow more plentifully, so the Forest Service will let you go chop down your own evergreen for a fee (and with some rules, naturally). But here in Southern California’s National Forests, the trees are sparse and most of the accessible pines are planted for erosion control, so going all Christmas Vacation is a no-no.

Rangers are on the lookout for tree-poachers, and will charge you a $500 fine, an additional fine of up to three times the tree’s value, AND up to six months in jail if they see you taking an axe to a ponderosa pine off the Angeles Crest. So maybe just head to a lot or pick up one of those cinnamon wreaths from Trader Joe’s instead?

Image by Barbara Piancastelli.

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