For the second year in a row, visitors to Saskatchewan’s Prince Albert National Park can harvest a coniferous tree from select areas of the park, bringing some holiday cheer to their homes and helping to prevent the spread of wildfires.
The program works like this: by chopping down trees with lots of needles, which better fuel fires, visitors are actually helping to create a protective ring that would slow down the spread of fires to nearby communities.
The area, which is called a fuel break, is created when you remove the coniferous tress, which have lots of needles and burn the hottest and fastest.
“We leave leafy trees like aspen, birch and grass. So you get this sort of green belt around the community that would help slow down a wildfire, and bring it from the treetops to the ground, where it would be more manageable for fire crews,” Shannon Bond, a fire information officer at the park, explained to the CBC.
This fuel break is usually maintained by fire crews during the winter. However, the park realized that they could kill two birds with one stone if they allowed the community come in and help them maintain the break.
Last year, 94 visitors chopped down their tress in the park. According to Bronwyn Craig, a promotions officer for Prince Albert National Park, they’re hoping even more people come by this year.
If you live near the park and would like to cut down a tree, check-in with the visitors centre in Waskesiu and pick up a free tree permit. Then, you can go and grab the perfect tree for your home.