Cutting Your Own Black Hills Spruce Christmas Tree.

December 17, 2012

Clark Griswold isn’t the only one capable of carrying out those time-honored Christmas traditions. With the Black Hills in your backyard, the outdoor enthusiasts at Palmer Gulch Resort see no reason to buy an artificial tree from the department store. Why not a Black Hills spruce for a Christmas tree to fill your home with the delicious smell of sweet pine for the holiday?

For that matter, fake trees come with lights and ornaments installed, destroying those classic moments of family togetherness traditionally associated with “decking the halls.” Do you remember the thrill of unwrapping those colorful, glass orbs that hibernate all year, only coming out at Christmas time? Do you recall a time when you carried boxes down from the attic and rediscovered ornamental heirlooms packaged within, ready for hanging on the boughs of your tree? An artificial tree is convenient—but it’s just not the same.

It’s settled then—this year, you’ll have a Black Hills spruce for your Christmas tree; freshly cut and carried to town atop your vehicle… in true, Clark Griswold fashion.


The Christmas Tree Fee & Permit

Good news! They’re available at a variety of locations. Even better news: it’s only $10, and that’s a good price when you consider that fake trees with pre-installed decorations typically run between one and three-hundred dollars!

Conveniently, you can pay your Christmas tree fee and pick up your tag on your way out of town. If you’re planning to fell Black Hills spruce in Spearfish Canyon, or in the surrounding Northern Hills, stop by Minitman Too in the town of Spearfish. In the Sturgis area, tree tags can be purchased at the Cenex Convienance Store on Lazelle. Rapid City residents can grab a permit at Hardware Hank on Mountain View or pick one up at Johnson Siding General Store on their way out Highway 44. If you’re in the Hill City area, pay your Christmas tree fee at either Prairie Berry Winery or the Chamber of Commerce; and if Deadwood is where you plan to cut, get your tags at the History & Information Center on Siever Street.

Cutting Rules for First-Time Lumberjacks

Luckily, the tree tag you’re given when you pay your Christmas tree fee comes with guidelines for cutting in the Black Hills. Read your tag before you crank up the chainsaw and begin hacking away…

  1. Maximum permit allowance is 5 per individual. No—you can’t cut down 10!
  2. The limit height for a cut Black Hills spruce is 20 feet.
  3. You aren’t allowed to partially cut—take the whole tree, leaving no more than a 6-inch stump behind.
  4. The adhesive tree tag must be affixed to your Black Hills spruce before it’s removed from the Black Hills National Forest.

Palmer Gulch Resort would like to offer the friendly reminder that Friday, December 21st is the last day to pay your Christmas tree fee—in that case, you have less than 2 weeks to secure the proper permission for cutting. In addition, tree tags expire on December 31st—however; we expect that you’ll want to have your tree up before Christmas Eve.

Happy tree hunting, Clark Griswold—and Merry Christmas!

About the Palmer Gulch Resort

The Black Hills provide ample opportunities for wintertime adventure, and the executive lodges, open all year round, at the Palmer Gulch Resort are here to serve as your snowy home away from home. To learn more about Palmer Gulch Resort, or to make a reservation, visit our website at or call 1-800-562-8503. Information packets are available for group gatherings, as well as GPS directions and maps of the area.

Last Modified: 06/25/2014 12:22:02 pm MDT