Shortage of Christmas tree lots leaves residents scrambling | RecordCourier.com
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Shortage of Christmas tree lots leaves residents scrambling

by Linda Hiller

Oh, Tannenbaum, where are you?

The shortage of Christmas tree lots in the Carson Valley this year has caused many residents to go elsewhere in their search for a traditional cut evergreen tree.

While the county is usually dotted with Christmas tree lots, this year there were fewer locations, creating a demand for trees that overshadowed the supply.

Genoa resident Shirley Giovacchini, who has been selling trees cut on family property at Lake Tahoe for 20 years, said her supply of Christmas trees sold out this year due to the large demand. Giovacchini sells the trees from her front yard in downtown Genoa.

“We had 250 trees this year and sold out on Dec. 12,” she said. “I can’t remember when we last sold out that fast. We usually have a few left over.”

The Rite Aid store in Gardnerville was another source for Christmas trees this year. The store sold out last Sunday.

“We had three loads of trees, starting with 180 on Thanksgiving day, then 180 more the next Thursday and then and 270 the following Sunday,” said Tracy Morris, assistant Manager at the Gardnerville Rite Aid. “We ordered about 50 more trees than last year, but if we’d have known we’d be the only tree lot in town, we would have ordered a lot more.”

Tracy said Rite Aid sold Douglas fir and noble fir trees for $19.99 to $60 and have been inundated with requests for more.

“So many people have asked us for trees,” she said. “We’ve tried to get more, but it doesn’t look good.”

n No Stratton lot this year. Barry Jones of Carson Valley Movers, who has had a Christmas tree lot in Gardnerville since 1976, was busy this year making several trips to Minnesota to relocate the new Citizens Mortgage Co., according to Carson Valley Movers’ office manager, Judy Tucker.

“Barry wasn’t able to do it this year because of a big move from Minnesota,” she said. “He had to make five trips to Minnesota, and was really watching out for the weather. The last trip he said he had snow most of the way.”

Tucker said she has been fielding quite a few inquiries about the tree lot.

“I think he was going to try and do it after the moves, but he just didn’t end up having the time this year. It was just one of those things.”

Jones said he has had people calling his business and home, as well as stopping him on the street to inquire about the absence of this year’s tree lot.

“I missed it tremendously this year,” he said. “It was a family operation, and I’ll definitely plan on doing it next year, in the the Stratton Center same as always. I just couldn’t do it this year.”

Jones said some years he brought in 1,000 trees for sale, selling the majority before the season ended.

“Last year, I brought in 800 trees and had two left over,” he said. “Next year I’ll do around 300 to 500 trees.”

Jones said that last year Douglas County started charging tree lot owners a “traveling vendor” permit charge of $100 each, which may have led to this year’s lack of Christmas tree lots.

“That, and the fact that trees cost more to get may be why less people did it this year,” he said.

n Where to go to get a tree. Permits from the United States Forest Service have sold a bit brisker than last year, according to Supervisory Forester Roland Shaw, but aren’t sold out yet.

“We have 1,500 permits available and we’ve sold close to that, but we still have permits available,” he said. “This has been a good year, largely because of the weather – we always worry about people getting snowed out. Last year we sold 1,000 permits.”

Shaw said tree cutting permits are $10 each and will be available through Dec. 18 at the Carson City USFS office across from Gottschalks. The cutting areas for the (mostly) white fir trees are near Markleeville and Dog Valley. For more information, call 882-2766.

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