Peninsula tree farms, Olympic National Forest offer holiday adventure of cutting your own Christmas tree
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Shaylin Lowe, 8, of Port Angeles drags a freshly cut tree back to the family car as part of an outing to cut a Christmas tree on Saturday at Lazy J Tree Farm. Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Mark Swanson
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — Got the car keys? Check. Kids all bundled up? Check.

You’re ready to go cut down your own Christmas tree.

There are a variety of options and locations where North Olympic Peninsula residents can cut and haul home their own Christmas trees.

Ann Johnson, who owns Lazy J Farm with her husband, Steve, said their cut-your-own operation was busy.

“Oh, we’ve got the apple cider and the fire ring going to warm up,” she said. “Three, four, five trucks just pulled in as I’m talking.”

If you’re heading to Lazy J at 225 Gehrke Road, Port Angeles, all you need to bring is a smile, Johnson said.

The farm supplies saws and measuring poles for cutting down trees, which are all priced by foot.

Trees are available from 3 feet tall to 14 feet tall.

“We’ve got some big ones,” Johnson said.

The farm is offering Nordmann, Douglas, Noble and Turkish firs — all hand-tipped.

“Tipping” is the art of pruning trees so that they grow to be bushy and firm and hold ornaments well.

Johnson said that besides the cut-your-own tree operation, Lazy J also sells trees commercially to nurseries which often specify hand-tipping. The farm does not spray the trees with chemicals.

Once you’ve selected, cut and hauled your tree to the sales area, the farm crew is available to help get it onto your car or truck. Lazy J has equipment for bundling them, too.

After the holidays, you can take your tree back to the farm to be composted.

Lazy J also has a variety of ornaments and live wreaths for sale.

Children and pets are welcome at the farm, Johnson said.

For more information, call Lazy J at 360-457-5950.

Calling himself the owner and worker, Ken Nattinger of Deer Park Tree Farm has 15 acres of Noble fir, Scotch pine, white pine, Douglas fir and Grand fir ready for families to come and cut.

The farm is located at 4227 Deer Park Road, Port Angeles, about 1.5 miles south of U.S. Highway 101.

Nattinger said he provides saws.

He notes that prospective customers should wear sturdy shoes because his facility is more like a forest than a cultivated and farm.

Help usually is available to get a tree onto a car or truck.

“We know we sell more than just trees,” he said. “We’re selling the experience.”

Nattinger’s trees are priced by foot with a maximum price set.

Trees vary in size, he said, with the largest about 12 feet tall.

He calls his trees almost organic: he sprays them with a fungicide in the spring and that is all.

They are also all hand-pruned or tipped, he said.

Business is booming, Nattinger said, adding he has many returning customers each year.

It has been so good, in fact, that he plans to shut down the cut-your-own operation for a couple of years after this season.

Deer Park, he said, has been a victim of its own success and his trees need a couple of years to grow.

In the meantime, he plans to cut timber on the more than 100 other acres he owns.

For more information about Deer Park Tree Farm, call 360-452-6720.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, buying a $5 tree-cutting permit from the Olympic National Forest could be more your style.

Cutting down a ‘wild’ non-farmed tree in the Olympic National Forest is much cheaper, but be prepared for the experience with your own saw and means for fastening a fir tree to your car or truck.

Permits for cutting Christmas trees in the Olympic National Forest are available now — and fourth-graders can get them free.

A map of designated areas for tree cutting are provided with each permit.

Permits are available through Dec. 24 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at offices in Quilcene, Forks, Quinault and Olympia, with special weekend hours offered at different locations.

To receive a free tree permit, each student must present a valid paper voucher printed from the “Every Kid in a Park” website at www.everykidinapark.gov.

Here is information about the Olympic National Forest Service offices.

■   Quilcene — Hood Canal Ranger District office at 295142 S. U.S. Highway 101; 360-765-2200; special weekend hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

■   Forks — Pacific Ranger District office at 437 Tillicum Lane; 360-374-6522; special weekend hours at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 12.

■   Quinault — Pacific Ranger District office at 353 South Shore Road; 360-288-2525; special weekend hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 12.

■   Olympia — Olympic National Forest headquarters at 1835 Black Lake Blvd. SW; 360-956-2402; special weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 12.

Contact a local office to confirm hours and obtain additional information as well as current road and weather conditions.

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Reporter Mark Swanson can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5054, or mswanson@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 28. 2015 6:55PM
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