Free Christmas tree permits for fourth graders in Glenwood Springs |

Forest Service facilitates 4th-grade families’ hunt for Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching Glenwood Springs Elementary fourth grader Jack Clifford, 9, was really excited to go on his first Christmas tree hunt.

Thanks to the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, the U.S. Forest Service and White River National Forest is giving out free Christmas tree permits for fourth graders and their families.

“It’s been at least a decade since we have done this, before Jack was born,” his dad, Damon Clifford, said.

Last Sunday Damon, mom Kristin and Jack Clifford all took to the mountains of the White River National Forest to harvest this year’s family Christmas tree.

“It’s a great experience, more fun than just going and buying one,” Damon Clifford said. “It’s a good excuse to get outside and enjoy winter.”

It didn’t take long for the Cliffords to find their tree, as they hiked through the knee-deep snow above Sunlight Mountain Resort off of Four Mile Road.

With a few strokes of a saw, the tree was down and ready to packed out.

“This is probably the best tree we’ve ever had,” Jack said as he jumped around in the snow.

Without batting an eye, Jack grabbed ahold of the tree and began the hike back.

Smiling the whole way back, Jack couldn’t stop talking about the experience.

“I love it, because I get to go out in the wilderness,” he added. “Dragging it was the best part.”

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