MACHIAS – With the holiday season coming up, now is the best time to tip trees or harvest parts of the tree for the purpose of making wreaths. While it is a great way to make easy money, sometimes it is not done legally.
“My job as a Forest Ranger is to make sure the resources are being harvested responsibly,” said Aaron Currier, “For us, this includes making sure they are doing it legally, which means they are having landowner permission and (are) doing it in a responsible manner that’s not going to ruin the tree or devastate the forest.”
Currier says this season brings a lot of people into the woods, some without permission. While you do not need a license for it, tippers must have written permission in order to harvest and transport evergreen boughs.
“Often times people are illegally tipping because they do not know the landowners and do not know where to get permission,” said Currier, “Or B – they have more of a criminal intent, to steal the tip (and) make a little bit of money for who knows what.”
Prices range from 37 to 45 cents a pound and some people are able to bring home a thousand pounds worth of materials. If caught tipping unlawfully, the suspect will receive a summons for the evergreen boughs, which generally carries a fine of about $200 to $500 which depends on their criminal history and the amount of the brush stolen.
“What we got here is about $100 worth of tips which will be seized for now until court deliberations are done,” he said, “We will see if the suspects are found innocent or guilty. If they are found guilty, the money will be returned to the landowner and if they are found guilty, it will be returned to the suspects themselves.”
But tree tipping isn’t all bad. Those doing it legally often find it as a fun family hobby.
“It’s enjoyable when you’re out on a good day (like) If it’s a crisp fall weather,” said Currier, “Generally, (it’s) pretty quiet in these remote areas, people really have grown to enjoy it.