Are you looking for a REALLY fresh tree?

Well, this being windy, dry Calgary, that is hard to find on any of the tree lots! The best way to get a really fresh tree and to have some family fun is to cut your own Christmas tree. If you’re one of the families who still insist on a “live” tree (I’m with you!), we have some ideas beyond the grocery store tree lot. This is such a lovely, old-fashioned, and reasonably easy thing to do as a family. It may not be the lushest tree in the world, but it will smell amazing and the kids will love it!

Not sure what to expect when you cut your own tree? Read about one family’s tree-cutting adventures!

Where to cut your own tree near Calgary:

You used to have to pay $5 (+GST) for a permit from Alberta Environment and Parks, and you could cut down up to 3 trees in an approved forest area. The Alberta government removed the permit fee on November 26, 2020, however, so it’s even easier now. There are height restrictions of course, but aside from that, the perfect tree is fair game! The permit is a TM66 and is now available online or you can go to any of the following locations to get it (and a map!):

Forestry Division Office
8660 Bearspaw Dam Road NW
Monday to Friday, 8:15-4:30 (closed 12 -1 pm)
Phone: 403-297-8800

Fish and Wildlife Division Office
E.P. Building
3115 – 12 Street NE
Phone: 403-297-6423

You can also cut your own Lodgepole Pine Christmas tree by visiting the Alberta Junior Forest Wardens Christmas tree-cutting area near Sibbald Creek. Permits will be available from a volunteer on site and donations are welcome. There will also be a concession. This program runs Saturdays and Sundays from the end of November until the weekend before Christmas (November 25 – December 17, 2023), road and weather conditions permitting.  See the Junior Warden’s website for information about the Alberta Junior Forest Wardens.

Directions: From Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park, travel west on the Trans Canada (Hwy 1) for approximately 35 km. Take the Hwy 68 exit (Sibbald Creek Trail) and head south for approximately 22 km to the Powderface Trail turnoff. Turn left and head south on Powderface Trail for 2 km and you’ll reach the Christmas Tree Cutting Lot. Watch for the JFW signs along the route!