Volunteers from San Juan Mountains Association and San Juan Hotshots unloaded a haul of 640 trees Monday at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad parking lot to prepare for the fifth annual SJMA Christmas tree fundraiser.
The tree sale began Friday and will continue through Dec. 20.
“We put up some banners outside the tree lot each year,” Sherri Libby of SJMA said. “We just hope people think ‘That’s where I should get a Christmas tree this year’ when they see them.” People searching for Christmas trees this season are encouraged to check out the selection in the tree lot.
This year, the sale is stocked with 540 balsam and Fraser fir trees that were delivered from Silent Night Evergreens tree lot, near Madison, Wisconsin. An additional 100 white fir trees were cut down from the Beaver Meadows area in the San Juan National Forest.
A permit from the Forest Service allowed crews to remove the trees from areas that needed to be thinned for numerous reasons, to help with conservation and preserve the health of the forest, said Frank Viehmann, SJMA vice president.
The farmed trees from Wisconsin range from 4 to 10 feet in height, while the local white firs range from 6 to 16 feet, Viehmann said. The larger, local trees from the San Juan National Forest will provide a wider selection for businesses, community celebrations, outdoor holiday events and people with vaulted ceilings.
Christmas trees range in price from $38 to $130, based on height, and will be for sale from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. The Christmas tree lot, a space that’s donated each year by Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad owner Al Harper, is on the corner of Camino del Rio and College Drive, in the railroad depot parking area.
Trees left over after the fundraiser will be given to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife division in Durango to be deposited into area lakes and used as fish habitats.
“I want to emphasize that the fundraiser is a great opportunity for people to volunteer, hang out, get to know each other, share stories, help families pick out trees and just have fun with the community during the holidays, for a good cause,” Viehmann said.
SJMA is a local nonprofit organization that promotes responsible use, education and stewardship of area public lands. Proceeds from the sale go to conservation education programs offered by SJMA. Viehmann said the event yields about $15,000 each year for the association.
For more information or to volunteer for light or heavy labor, call 385-1312, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sjma.org.